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by Christa Kraft, student writer
How it works

Naturally, men are skeptical of a contraceptive pill because they don’t know how it would affect them. Scientists also were skeptical at first. It is easy to stop women from producing one or two eggs a month, but since men produce millions of sperm every day, anything less than one hundred percent effective would be unmarketable.

The male pill contains a combination of hormones that block the production of sperm while maintaining male characteristics and sex drive, according to askmen.com. Everything about the man’s body works the same as it would normally, but his sperm count is brought down to zero. When he stops taking the pill, his sperm count returns to normal within several weeks or months.

In clinical trials, the male pill has proven 100 percent effective. This is a huge step forward for male sexual protection. Condoms, if used correctly and under optimum conditions have a test failure rate of about 2 percent, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, under real life circumstances, the condom has a failure rate of about 14 percent.

The side effects were similar to those found in the female pill. They included weight gain, acne, and mood changes. As more studies and research are done side effects can be reduced.

Where is it?

So this pill seems like a man’s dream come true, right? So why isn’t it being sold to men of all ages, across the nation, in every store? There is much speculation about this. Some researchers and pharmaceutical companies feel that men would not be open to this idea. Here, at HPU, men do seem to be ambivalent.

Lance Jackson, a 20-year-old international relations major from Kansas City, Mo. is in favor: “I’ll do it, as long as it doesn’t compromise sensation,” he says. However, he adds that he can see why other men wouldn’t be accepting of something so modern. “This is a chauvinistic society,” Jackson said. “Men think that not only should she have the responsibility for pregnancy, but she should wash the dishes after sex.”

Jerome Ramos, 21, an entrepreneurial studies major from the Bronx, and Akiva Gomez, 28, a business major from Israel, are adamantly against the idea, but for different reasons.

“ I already don’t approve of it,” said Ramos. “I’m a man of nature. We tend to shape nature to us [rather] than to fit [ourselves] into nature. That’s not natural, and we don’t need it.

“ Society tends to govern us on things that don’t even matter,” Ramos added. “It defeats the whole purpose of life itself. We need to stop trying to be the higher power. That’s not us.”

Gomez said: “Never. Being able to get a woman pregnant is what a man is. We pride ourselves on being virile. I wouldn’t want to use hormones or injections. I’d rather get my tubes tied [in a vasectomy] eventually instead.”

On the opposing side, Beau Willis, a 22-year-old advertising major, and Alex Watson, a 21-year-old business management major, are all for the idea.

Watson said: “I would totally take the pill. That way you have proof for not using a condom.”
“ Besides,” said Willis, “Condoms are expensive; they may be more expensive than the pill in the long run, if you use six per week, three per pack at $4.50 a pack.”

Follow the money

So, pharmaceutical companies may be reluctant to produce a product that they are not sure will make them any money. Would men really be willing to pay for a pill to stop their little sailors from swimming?

Kevin Pemberton, 25, an MBA student from New Hampshire said: “I would pay $60 per month, but I would expect and hope insurance to pick up 80 percent of the cost…but I’d prefer a shot. I’d forget to take a pill everyday.”

Negative effects

So once some brave pharmaceutical company takes the risk to produce such a product, and eventually one will, everything will be great, right? All sexual problems solved? Wrong.

Sexually transmitted diseases are still a factor in having truly protected sex. With more men on the pill and fewer using condoms, the logical fear is that the occurrence of STDs would rise.

Positive effects

Perhaps the pill could help the world situation, reducing the large population growth that hinders many developing countries.

HPU’s Dr. William Warren, associate professor of geography and international studies and program chair for international studies, said: “Even in the developed world, it’s a challenge to get men to use contraceptives.”

Warren admitted that, “The kind of men that are impregnating women are the least likely to use [male contraceptives].” However, he added, “Any future human action is hard to predict, even future population growth.”
 
 

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