Leave it to the serious issue of Male Contraceptives for Feminist to turn the issue into a “We are better than men because…”, despite not looking into the issue further.
A recent study was released to the public of a trial which was done between 2008 and 2012. Despite a 96% pregnancy prevention, the study was halted.
If you asks feminists, it is due to the fact that men couldn’t handle the side effects.
But the trial of the drug has already been halted – because just 20 of the men (out of 320, don’t forget) found the side effects of the injection intolerable and it was decided that more research needed to be done to try and counteract them. Those side effects included depression, muscle pain, mood swings, acne and changes to the libido.
Completely blown out of proportion.
How sad for these poor men – they couldn’t handle the side effects that so many women have to deal with every day just to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Women have had to bear the responsibility of contraception since the pill was first launched in 1962 – and all of the side effects that go along with it.
Now what Feminists are speaking of here is true, but of course, it is more of a half-truth with carefully selected facts to make a male issue actually a female issue. But hey, Feminists are good at doing that.
So let us crack this open a little bit and I will attempt to explain why I think this study was halted.
First off, there are widely reported numbers for how many participants there were. Anywhere from 250 – 360. According to this report, there were 320 male volunteers aged 18 – 45 who were in monogamous relationships, with a sperm production of 15 million/mL.
First there was an 8 week screening phase, followed by a 26 week suppression phase, where 4 injections were given over a period of 24 weeks. Couples were instructed to use non-hormonal birth control options for sex, and constant testing of sperm production was measured.
By the end of this phase, participants needed a sperm production of 1 million/mL. Nine appeared to not have lower sperm count by the end of this phase, while another 23 stopped early, likely due to the injections having little to no effect. So 32 total did not have the desired effect, or 10%. An additional 22 dropped out for other reasons. Only 266 went on to the next stage.
The next phase was the efficacy phase, which was continued injections every 8 weeks up to 1 year. Following that was a recovery phase, mostly to see how long it took until normal sperm production.
It should be noted that the drugs used was a form of testosterone called testosterone undecanoate, and a form of progestogen called norethisterone enanthate. Both help with decreasing the production of sperm, but both were needed to reduce it even further. Like women, men face increase health risk with injections of testosterone. This is likely one of the main reason why testing stopped, as more study is needed to find the right amount to administer. One size does not fit all, in this case.
Some long term effects of testosterone use include: Depression, Difficulty concentrating, Disturbed sleep, Declining muscle and bone mass, Increased body fat, Fatigue, Swollen or tender breasts, Flushing or hot flashes, change in sexual drive, and difficulty with erections. Note that this is long-term of regular injections, and not long-terms of this study.
So what were the results? We already know there was a 10% failure in lowering sperm production. Feminists complain that men can’t handle the side effects, and claim there’s a double standard of caring about men more than women. Ask that same feminist if she wants sex with a man who has this birth control option, if there is a 1 in 10 chance she could still get them pregnant. I bet they’d want that recalled.
Of the 266 who continued on, 4 got their partner pregnant. That is about 1.56 per 100 rate of pregnancy, compared to the female birth control option of 1 per 100. This of course doesn’t measure if both people are on birth control, and this was a small sample size.
Would the same hold true if 10,000 were tested?
Those that did get pregnant, the male did have a sperm production rate of less than 1 million/mL, but even then, that can still cause pregnancy… it’s not unheard of. It leads to the question of whether that is too high, and if sperm production should be lowered.
Six men experienced rebounding of sperm production, returning back to normal levels during the efficacy phase. If we add it to the original sample size, that is 38 men out of 320 that failed to have or maintain lower sperm count, a 12% failure rate.
Eight men did not recover their sperm production rate during the recovery phase of 54 weeks. These were treated on a case-by-case basis. Five were able to get back to normal after 74 weeks, and 2 refused further follow-up. The last one did not have sperm production return back to normal, as of 4 years and counting.
So the vast majority of men will have normal levels within a year, though a minority (3%) will not. Some just need a longer time, but so far 1 in 266 will not have normal levels again. Hopefully not permanent, but it could be.
The study states that the failure rate combined with the 266 participants is 7.5%. Overall, from the original 320, we are close to a 20% failure rate. 1 in 5 men will have complications because of this treatment, either with no effect, a premature return to normal production, or a prolonged delay in normal production.
Gee, I wonder why this needed further research?
This was the issue Feminists complained about, and reasoned that it was due to this that the study was stopped… and not anything else that I’ve mentioned thus far. I guess they saw that they wanted to see.
During the study, they found 1491 reactions. They concluded that 913 reactions were related to the treatment, which can be regarded as side effects. Of those:
- 22% were acne related
- 19 cases were moderate to severe
- 11% were injection site pain
- 5 cases were moderate to severe
- 15% had changes in libido
- 17 cases were moderate to severe
- Of that 15%, 90% saw an increase in libido
- 13% had mood disorders
- Of that 13%:
- 55% were emotional disorders
- 16% were mood swings
- 10% had hostility
- 7% depressed
- 15 cases were moderate to severe
- Of that 13%:
- 9% Musculoskeletal disorders
- 2% Gynaecomastia
- This is the enlargement of breast tissue in men
- Only 1 case marked moderate
Other side effects were: Headache, Hyperhidrosis, Increased appetite, Weight increased, Night sweats, Irritability, Pruritus, Testicular pain/discomfort, and Fatigue.
Of these results, only 20 men (7.5%) left due to side effects. Six men discontinued due to only changes in mood. Six other men discontinued for acne, pain or panic after first injection, palpitations, hypertension, and erectile dysfunction. The remaining 8 left for more than one side effect experienced.
There was one death as a result of suicide. The family reported they believed it had to do with the fact that he was in college and couldn’t handle the work load. It is impossible to determine if the treatment had an effect on his mental state. It is possible.
In light of those results, across the board there was an 80% satisfaction from both genders, and 80% that both genders would use this method of birth control.
For the most part, it looks like this works, but there is still too high of a failure rate for decrease in sperm production. Even then, all it takes is just for one to get through, to beat the odds, and a girl gets pregnant, even if the sperm count is low.
There are notable side effects, but since this was not a double blind study (meaning no use of a placebo), it is hard to determine if anyone convinced themselves that they should feel something. More than that, this was a small sample size, and a large one would be needed to really explore the effects.
There is also no indication of what prolonged exposure to this treatment can do, but given what is known about testosterone injections, we can take some educated guesses.
This is not something we can rush to production. We must tread carefully with this. If it was just the side effects that were the actual cause of the study stopping in 2012, then I might see the Feminist viewpoint. But a 1 in 5 chance that something can go wrong, with a 12% chance that sperm production would remain, or prematurely return to normal levels… there’s not a Feminist in this world that would play those odds.