To be sterile or not to be sterile, that is the question

Louis LaVenture,

For generations, women have had the responsibility of preventing pregnancy.

Sure, men have their options as well, but nothing as secure as birth control that women have taken for decades. Men have had three primary methods of birth control in condoms, pulling out or the dreaded vasectomy.

Finally through technology, science and medicine, a birth control was developed and tested earlier this year. According to a study published last month by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in collaboration with the United Nations, participants were given an injection every eight weeks that was comprised of 1,000 milligrams of synthetic testosterone and 200 milligrams of norethisterone enanthate, a type of female hormone. According to the study, the injection is meant to malfunction the brain into believing it has enough testosterone, so the body will then stop producing more and sperm as well. According to the article in the journal, the levels were supposed to drop safely so that they could return after the drug was stopped being taken completely.

However, the side effects caused the study to be abruptly stopped. The drug had great results: out of 274 participants it had a 96 percent success rate. But it had it’s problems as well, which included one diagnosed case of depression and another diagnosed case of irregular or quick heartbeat, scary side effects to avoid having children.

Even worse, 20 men dropped out of the study completely because of the side effects and there were 1,491 incidents of side effects reported by participants during the course of the study. The most common complaints were injection site pain, muscle pain, increased libido and acne; however, researchers said more than 39 percent of the reported symptoms, that included a suicide, were unrelated to the shots.

The study cited the side effects, particularly depression and other mood disorders, that caused it to be stopped earlier than expected. So the shot was 96 percent effective but I might be depressed or have physical, mental, or emotional side effects? No thank you, I’ll take any other method of birth control. Even worse, what if I become sterile from the shot or what if my sperm count doesn’t come back to normal?

What if I can’t have kids anymore because I decided to get the shot? That doesn’t seem like a smart risk as I would like to have kids someday.

Don’t forget there is still a four percent chance of having a baby if you only use the shot as your birth control method. This would mean that to be totally safe, I would still probably have to wear a condom, just to have peace of mind. As a full-time student with a full-time job, a child just isn’t something I can risk creating right now.

So while it may work, the side effects and the lack of a 100 percent guarantee force me to choose another method. Women and critics will say the onus to prevent pregnancy has been on the shoulders of females for way too long and it is time men started meeting them halfway. I agree and I don’t mind the side effects if I can be guaranteed things can physically go back to normal if I want them to.

Until then, the old methods seem like the way to go.