Traditionally, most forms of contraception have been designed for use by women, unfairly placing the responsibility for prevention in their court, rather than sharing it equally. The one exception is, of course, the condom, but many men claim that a condom lessens the experience or that the delay required to put on one kills the spontaneity of the moment. So it is often left up to women to ensure that an unwanted pregnancy doesn’t happen. But what if there were a way for men to take on that responsibility with a long-term contraceptive administered in advance?
If scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s reproductive and development sciences division and elsewhere are successful, that scenario may not be too far off. The researchers are looking for couples to participate in a study run by the World Health Organization to test an injection designed to prevent pregnancy. In practice, the injections would be given every two months and are completely reversible. The scientists claim the injection provides better protection against pregnancy than even condoms.
And therein lies the rub — I have to wonder what happens to the couples involved in the study if, for some reason, it does not work as well as advertised? What happens to the resulting kid? Are the scientists going to raise it? With three kids of my own, I know how expensive kids really are; I’m not sure I’d chance it. Would you? Would you risk another pregnancy on a new form of contraception?
Still, it seems to me that this would be quite a step forward. Men who think they may get lucky can be prepared in advance and avoid bringing an unwanted child into the world. I’d say that’s a good thing all around.