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An effective contraception strategy is one that allows a physical relationship without fear of an unwanted pregnancy and ensures freedom to have children when desired. The latest version of the injected male contraceptive has been found to be very effective. In a trial of 320 men, researchers found that, over a one-year period, it was 96 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy.
Still, Mario Philip R. Festin of the World Health Organization in Geneva, one of the study's authors, said more research was needed. "Although the injections were effective in reducing the rate of pregnancy, the combination of hormones needs to be studied more to consider a good balance between efficacy and safety," Festin said.
Despite the success, the trial of the drug has been called off– because just 20 of the men (out of 320) found the side effects of the injection intolerable and it was decided that more research needed to be done to try and counteract them. More than 75 per cent of volunteers said they would happily use the injectable contraception.
When it comes to contraception, medicine is clearly biased towards men. Women can have such ailments as depression and acne forced upon them for the bigger purpose of preventing an unwanted conception, but the same level of discomfort cannot be expected of the stronger sex- men. Researchers are now going to spend millions trying to alter this medication so that its side effects are lessened.
The sited intolerable side effects included depression, muscle pain, mood swings, acne and changes to the libido. In other words, they experienced side effects faced by women already taking birth control every day. These men were not ready to put up with the side effects that so many women have to silently deal with every day just to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
The really is that effects of hormonal contraception are far graver in women. One of the most dangerous risks to women of taking the combined pill is the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can be fatal. There is also an increased risk of breast cancer (one in eight pill users get breast cancer). There’s higher chance of getting cervical cancer or having a stroke (because of high blood pressure).
Mood swings, cramps, sore breasts, headaches, migraines, weight gain, heavy and painful periods, no periods at all, bleeding every single day (known as spotting) are counted among minor symptoms and are dismissively mentioned. Although these ‘minor’ symptoms drastically affect their quality of life. But when the same minor symptoms happen to men, they are too serious to ignore. Perhaps the WHO thinks so.
During my research on unwanted pregnancy, I found that Indian women in childbearing age found fear of pregnancy very stressful. Especially because there is absence of cooperation from men to use condoms and they face ill effects of pills. They tend to have children sooner and then wind up their fertility. India’s use of female sterilization was 37.3% compared to 5-8% world average and in much youger age group than the world average. Contraceptive Methods: Needs, Options and Utilization.)
Women make up half the population of the world, and half the partnership responsible for every unplanned child. Why then do they have to take all the responsibility to prevent a pregnancy, even at the cost of their physical and emotional health? That’s thoroughly unfair and it’s time someone gave them a break when it comes to contraception.
Of course, contraceptives have minor side effects –it’s time for men to put up with them too!