Researchers at the ANZAC Research Institute in Sydney, Australia and Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne report that a hormone-based injection taken four times per year is effective as a contraceptive. The study followed a group of fertile men during two years of “normal” sexual activity. None of the men’s partners became pregnant during that period.
The shots are comprised of a progestin-testosterone combination. The progestin is responsible for shutting down sperm production, but also reduces testosterone production. The results echo those of researchers in Scotland and China, reported in September 2000. While drug companies have lagged behind in research on male contraceptives, there is a strong likelihood that they will reach the market in the near future, perhaps as early as 2005. A survey by the Monash Medical Center indicated that 75% of Australian fathers would be willing to try a male contraceptive pill. The availability of a male contraceptive would help reduce the 3 million unwanted pregnancies in the US each year. “It’s a matter of sharing responsibility,” said Dr. Christina Wang, chairwoman of the World Health Organization’s Male Contraceptive Task Force when testing on new male contraceptive became public in 1998, “and men accepting responsibility for family planning and in general for reproductive health.”