KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV – Researchers at the University of Kansas are conducting a clinical trial for a form of male birth control.
Right now, the researchers and doctors are looking for couples to test it out.
Since 1960, the pressure of not getting pregnant has fallen on the shoulders of women. Now it’s being put on men.
Men, would you try it? Women, would you trust your guy not to forget?
The birth control comes in the form of a gel. The gel is applied to a man’s shoulder or arm daily. It’s a mix of testosterone and progestin.
Doctors told KCTV5 News the goal is for the gel to be 100% effective, 100% reversible and 100% free of side-effects. So far, they say the results are very promising.
KCTV5’s Joe Chiodo talked with people to hear what they thought of the gel.
"I think it’s great. Men should be just as responsible as ladies,” said Leslie Friday.
“It’s about time! Yes,” another woman told KCTV5.
At least one guy had a different opinion.
“Weird,” he said. “Putting something on your shoulder?” he questioned.
Friday has eight kids. She said she doesn’t want anymore, so birth control is needed. But, she’s never been able to take it. Many women are in that position, even more have negative reactions to the pill.
“I am part of that 1% in which they don’t work for,” she explained.
But maybe it would work for her partner.
Dr. Ajay Nagia director of male reproductive health at the University of Kansas says it’s about time for men to do the work.
“Let the man do the work. This is a hormonal therapy. Men have only had vasectomy and condoms ... the world is changing," Nagia said.
Nagia said men would keep their sex drive while using the gel. When the couple is ready to have kids, the man would stop using the gel, and his sperm count should return to normal.
KU is looking for serious couples to take part. You have to be open to the ideas of having kids. You also must have dated each other for at least a year. That’s because in clinical trials, the product isn’t guaranteed to work – so you may end up pregnant.
But the gel, does raise at least one concern for couples.
Chiodo asked women, “Is there any part of you that worries ... could a guy be responsible to take this everyday?”
Women answered, “Absolutely! Absolutely!”
Doctors, too, admit that is a concern. Women would likely often be reminding their man to use the gel. But in the end doctors say it would still create a shared responsibility that doesn’t exist today. In most relationships all the responsibility to remember the pill falls on the woman.
There are only three places in the United States testing the gel right now: KU, LA and Seattle.
That’s where we find Dr. Stephanie Page with the University of Washington.
“I think we are underestimating the interest of men in these things. To say men wouldn't do it…is false," Page explained.
Joe asked men in Kansas City if they would try it.
“Ah, I’d be open to it," one responded.
“Yeah you don’t have to worry about a condom,” another explained.
Doctors say if you’re in a steady, serious relationship and both partners have been tested, that is a benefit. But, if a single man was to ever use the gel, they would still encourage condom use to prevent disease.
The gel is about more than just convenience though.
Friday raised a valid point.
“The reason there are so many abused or homeless or mistreated children is because they weren’t desired from the start,” she said.\
Nagia echoed that thought.
“Sadly, 50% of pregnancies are unplanned,” he told KCTV5.
In the United States, that's about 3 million. Half of those end up being unwanted.
“Now, whether or not that leads to the debate of abortion or giving up their children is very controversial," Nagia said.
An article in The Washington Post says condom usage and the pill are “pretty terrible” when it comes to preventing pregnancy.
According to the CDC, the pill works 91% of the time. Condoms are even worse at 82%. Doctors hope this gel could change that.
“It’s absolutely critical to solving the problem,” Page said.
IUD’s are also extremely successful in preventing pregnancy. But not many women get them because it's such an invasive procedure.
So far the gel is showing great promise. None of the participating couples have gotten pregnant.
KU is still looking for more couples to sign up. If you’re interested click here. Couples who participate receive $4,000.