Selected articles about male contraception
Sightline Daily: “Beyond the Wallet Condom“ by Valerie Tarico (September 2013). Review of a number of new contraceptive methods.
The Diplomat: “A Male Contraceptive Pill for Indonesia?“ by Mark Wilson (September 2013). The development of the plant-based pill Gandarusa.
AEON: “Where’s the Male Pill?“ by Jalees Rehman (July 2013). Dr. Rehman reviews the state of the art in male contraception and why it is taking so long for promising new methods to make it to market. He suggests that governmental and nonprofit organizations may have to take the first steps to complete larger-scale clinical trials and applauds the work of the Parsemus Foundation to do just that. A follow up discussion in SciLogs clarifies the ethics of evaluating side effects for male contraceptives.
Popular Science: “How Not to be a Dad: The Latest Science of Male Birth Control“ by Julie Beck (June 2013). A great review of promising methods of male contraception, including: ultrasound, RISUG, Vasalgel, contraceptive gel, Gamendazole, Clean Sheets Pill, hormonal implants, JQ1.
BBC News: “Male Contraceptive Pill ‘Step Closer’ after Mice Studies“ by James Gallagher (August 2012).
The Australian: “Male Contraceptive Pill on the Horizon“ by Adam Cresswell (August 2012).
AFP: “Research on Mice Boosts Hope for ‘Male Pill’“ (August 2012).
Coverage of the recently published JQ1 trials in mice. See also press release by Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Inquirer.net: “A Contraceptive for Men“ by Rina Jimenez-David (June 2012). Update on the development of gendarussa.
MSNBC: “New cancer drug affects sperm, study shows. Finally, a male birth control pill?” by Maggie Fox (August 2012).
Huffington Post: “New male birth control option shows promise, preliminary study finds” by Catherine Pearson (August 2012). Coverage of an early-stage lead, JQ1. See also the researchers’ press release.
TechCitement: “The Best Birth Control In The World Is For Men“ by Jon Clinkenbeard (March 2012). A story about RISUG/Vasalgel gets almost 100,000 views in 12 hours and huge sharing. It starts a debate about the original researcher’s HIV-prevention hypothesis, which is just a hypothesis (HIV prevention is not claimed or expected for the U.S. version), but in general the method garners huge interest, with over 1,000 people signing up for more information in the first 24 hours, and 1.5 million views.
Popular Science: “Zapping Testicles With Ultrasonic Pulses Shown To Be Effective Contraceptive“ by Rebecca Boyle (Jan. 2012)
Time:“‘Sonicated’ Sperm: Could Ultrasound Be the Next Male Contraceptive?” by Alice Parks (January 2012)
ABC News: “Ultrasound Zap May Be New Form of Birth Control” by Mikaela Conley (January 2012).
Toronto Globe and Mail: “One step closer to a Pill for men?” by Zosia Bielski (February 2012). Publication of ultrasound results gets widespread coverage.
News article archive
TheDaily.com: “Advocate fighting for male contraception thinks she’s found the one” by Katie Drummond (September 2011). Profile of the RISUG and Vasalgel effort and MCIP’s founder.
CafeMom: “Male Birth Control Will Save Your Sex Life” by Jayme Waxman (July 2011). After a flurry of publicity from New York Times coverage, a thoughtful reaction from a woman’s perspective.
Alternet: “How a Male Birth Control Pill Could Have Changed My Life” by Michael Parsons (July 2011). After a flurry of publicity from New York Times coverage, a thoughtful reaction from a man’s perspective — a stay-at-home dad whose life was changed by an unplanned pregnancy.
The New York Times: “Scientific Advances on Contraceptive for Men” by Pam Belluck (July 2011). The New York Times article that set off widespread discussion of male contraception. The very brief descriptions make many methods sound scarier than they are, and many of those writing knockoff pieces from this article mix the methods up; but this article did more to raise awareness than most other coverage.
PBS Newshour: “Indonesian Plant Shows Promise for Male Birth Control” by Ray Suarez, reporter, and Merrill Schwerin, Producer/Project Director (July 2011). PBS Newshour goes all the way to Indonesia for us to get the latest on the nonhormonal pill, justicia gendarussa (also known as gandarusa), being developed there.
Mother Jones: “Birth Control for Men: Why the Wait?” by Jen Quraishi (July 2011). Extensive comments section.
Scientific American: “Beyond Condoms: The Long Quest for a Better Male Contraceptive” by Nina Bai (June 2011). Well-researched article provides extensive method descriptions and a clear picture of the development landscape.
The Wall Street Journal: “Honey, It’s Your Turn…” by Melinda Beck (June 2011). Accurate coverage in the highest-circulation newspaper in the United States.
WIRED Magazine: “The revolutionary new birth control method for men” by Bill Gifford (May 2011). Excellent, compelling coverage of RISUG’s development in India and the effort to bring it to the rest of the world. Includes video of the RISUG/Vasalgel procedure (sensitive viewers be forewarned).
CONRAD: “Male Hormonal Contraceptive Trial Ending Early” (press release- April 2011). CONRAD and the WHO end their hormonal male contraceptive injection study early due to side effects, particularly depression and other mood changes (as well as increased libido).
Straits Times: “Indonesia to launch contraceptive pills for men” by staff writer at The Jakarta Post (January 2011). The press in Indonesia jumps the gun and reports that the national family planning program will roll out a plant-based male pill this year, when a previous report described the method as being available in about 8 more years. The story gets picked up by Fast Company.
Good Feed: “Male Birth Control Takes a Step Forward in the U.S.” by Ryan O’Hanlon (December 2010). An article describing the recent progress on RISUG/Vasalgel – and a false rumor of a doctor in Germany offering it—inspire a flurry of comments and indignation from men wanting to get the contraceptive sooner rather than later.
ARTE TV: “A half century with the pill” by Michaela Kirst (November 2010). The team for this 43-minute documentary traveled to India to film Prof. Sujoy Guha, the inventor of RISUG. “In 1960, the contraceptive pill was commercialised in the United States. Suddenly, centuries of sexual mores as defined by Christianity were put to a test – not to mention the perpetuation of humanity itself. After 5 decades of fighting for reproductive choice, this film evaluates the situation of contraceptives today: what are the risks and opportunities linked to the pill?”
Salon: “Are men too incompetent to use the male pill? If you believe in nasty stereotypes, it would appear so” by Kate Harding (January 2010). “Over at Gawker, Ravi Somaiya has written a conveniently bullet-pointed ‘reminder’ of why a male contraceptive pill is ‘an appalling notion.’ …My greatest objection to Somaiya’s arguments is that they’re so astoundingly insulting to men… but it bears examination anyway, because it wouldn’t work on any level if the damaging stereotypes it’s based on weren’t all too familiar.”
Sydney Morning Herald: “It’s hip to get the snip” by Simon Webster (September 2008). A spirited Australian take on male contraception and the alternatives under development. Are men interested in contraception and willing to contribute? Points out that 1 in 3 Australian men in their 40s and 50s has gotten a vasectomy, and gives the credit to “some fairly good education and some assertive Australian women!… Only one in six Americans over 35 has had the snip, but single 20-something American men are turning to the operation… Social analysts say this is because getting a chick pregnant would, like, totally not rock, dude… While men taking on responsibility for contraception is admirable, vasectomies are not always easy to reverse, and young men’s scrotums being punctured left, right and centre like party balloons is not an ideal state of affairs.”
Times Online (London): “Sperm warfare” by Liz Hollis (September 2008). Detailed piece on male contraception research describes hormonal methods, the Vassonic device, the IVD, RISUG, ultrasound, and HIFU. Misses a couple of depressing facts – that HIFU nonsurgical sterilization is stalled due to lack of funding, and the American IVD design is missing in action – but clearly summarizes stumbling blocks. The comments offer an interesting glimpse of public opinion on these emerging male contraceptive methods.
Columbia News Service & national papers: “A Pill for men? Scientists develop new ways for guys to control their fertility” by Amy Crawford (May 2008). A well-researched piece covering the promising retinoic acid receptor antagonist research at Columbia University, and clarifying the struggles faced by hormonal researchers — in addition to mentioning suspensories, RISUG, and the IVD.
The Washington Post: “Male Contraception: Progress Slow but Steady” by Kathleen Doheny (April 2008). Interviews Dr. Ronald Swerdloff at UCLA and MCIP’s director Elaine Lissner about why big pharma dropped out of this research, and what is needed to get it moving faster.
U.S. News & World Report: “Should men care that male birth control options are languishing?” by Adam Voiland (March 2008). US News & World Report blogger and columnist writes a thoughtful piece: if the hormonal male contraception “breakthrough” reported in the press that week is really more of an evolutionary step than a breakthrough, what else is out there that’s close to ready? Can men be selective about the type of contraceptive they choose to use without earning women’s scorn? Includes brief survey.
RH Reality Check blog: “The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations” by Amanda Marcotte (February 2008). Columnist doesn’t buy that research is slow because men aren’t interested or can’t be trusted. “To understand why men might not be that eager to take a birth control pill, we’re left with a set of generalizations and stereotypes, many of which are unfair to a large percentage of men… Ever notice how this sitcom stereotype doesn’t stretch to include the main part of the day where both men and women have to be on the ball, keep their appointments, and just generally display responsibility? You know, work?” Reader comments illustrate the demand.
Sydney Morning Herald: “Contraception: Too old for condoms?” by Samantha Brett (November 2007). Are blokes in Australia interested in the subject of male contraception? You bet! This short opinion piece on attitudes towards vasectomy and a potential “male Pill” had received a whopping 329 comments at last count, and they make for enlightening reading on the range of human experience and attitudes (more enlightening than the original article, which doesn’t convey the pros and cons of vasectomy or a male Pill particularly accurately).
Seattle Times: “Men on ‘the pill’? Doctors say it’s no dream” by Carol Ostrom (September 2007). Seattle’s largest daily paper featured the “Future of Male Contraception” conference in a well-researched and largely accurate article. Focuses on attitudes and hormonal approaches, but “not all researchers are putting their eggs in the hormone basket.” Ends with brief mentions of the IVD (and reversibility questions), the RISUG clinical trial, and heat treatments.
The Scotsman: “A hard pill to swallow” by Kate Foster (September 2007). A lengthy look at the Scottish hormonal contraceptive study and the hurdles commercialization faces. “For Steven Driver, the decision to try out a new male pill was a simple one. His long-term girlfriend had struggled with the side-effects of her own contraceptives for 11 years and he felt it only right that he take his turn…”
Barron’s: “Prescriptions for Growth” by George Frey (September 2007). Bayer’s decision to quit male contraceptive research is described as a part of a strategic focus on high-profit areas: “Bayer’s research efforts are focused on four areas that it views as having especially high growth potential: cancer treatment, cardiology, women’s health care and diagnostic imaging (such as X-rays and MRIs). In an effort to make its research and development more fruitful, the company has initiated a process that determines whether projects are likely to be commercial as well as scientific successes. As a result, it has abandoned efforts to develop certain kinds of antibiotics and a male contraceptive.”
Chemistry World: “Big pharma not interested in ‘male pill’” by Ned Stafford (June 2007). A well-written overview of the challenges facing hormonal male contraception.
MSN Health & Fitness: “A Guy Thing? Male birth control products are getting closer to market-really-but the question remains if men will use them” by Maggie Koerth-Baker (March 2007). A lively story on MSN.com includes quotes from MCIP and the International Male Contraception Coalition, and and brief coverage of RISUG, hormonal approaches, and the “dry orgasm pill” research. The article approaches issues of demand from a “glass half empty” perspective. For example, 55% of men saying they’re interested in using a new contraceptive is more impressive when you consider that the statistic includes men in predominantly Muslim Indonesia. And we found it particularly striking that a new MSN-Zogby poll showed 36% of American adults said their “current method is fine.” Can you imagine if only 36% of people were happy with any other consumer product? Every company would be piling into the market hoping to make a fortune!
Geraldo at Large: “Male ‘Pill’ in the news” (December 2006, television). MCIP director Elaine Lissner interviewed as part of a lighthearted piece on men’s and women’s reactions to the week’s news from Kings College London about a new ‘male pill’ development.
ABC News: “Despite hype, male pill still years away” by Dr. Jasmine Karalakulasingam (December 2006). Puts the research and development timeline into perspective. Discusses a ‘male pill’, male hormonal contraception, the Intra Vas Device and RISUG.
New York Times: “Contraception as an option for the man” by Michael Manning (November 2006). Men’s attitudes are positive. So will new male contraceptives always be 5-10 years in the future? Covers the promising news on Adjudin and the Intra Vas Device, and is the first to break the disappointing news about Zavesca not working out.
Los Angeles Times: “Beyond condoms: male hormonal contraceptives may finally be on track” by Regina Nuzzo (October 2006). A good overview of the promise and problems of male hormonal contraception research.
BBC News Online: “Male contraceptive study expanded” by Michelle Roberts (October 2006). Accurate and thorough story that adds interviews and context to MCIP’s press release about the expansion of the IVD trial.
CBC News: “Not just a female problem” by Georgie Binks (July 2006). A mother’s perspective on male contraception. What do young men need to know about contraception as they go out into the world? “Pregnancy should be a big worry for males these days, because the law has made them financially responsible for their children financially, but the condom or a vasectomy are still the only two birth control options available to men.” Discusses new methods in the works.
LiveScience & Fox News: “New male contraceptives show promise” by Corey Binns (June 2006). Entertaining but accurate descriptions of how several methods work. Covers hormonal, RISUG, and the IVD.
Times Online: “Baby, this is crazy” by Suzi Godson (April 2006). One woman’s struggle to find a suitable female contraceptive, and reasons for the slow pace of male contraceptive development thus far.
Knot Magazine: “Not to be a pill, but…” by Michael Corey (April 2004). A young man’s perspective on male responsibility, with interviews and statistics about attitudes, economics, and politics. Covers RISUG and the simple wet heat method.
Advances for Nurses: “Contraceptive Options for Men” by Jill Rollet (April 2004). Accurate article with focus on hormonal and oral methods. Interesting background information on contraception through the ages.
AlterNet: “Are You Using Anything?” by Cara Gardner (January 2004). Focuses on RISUG, hormonal contraception, and attitudes. Contains some inaccuracies; contact MCIP for corrections.
Grist Magazine: “The Sperminator” by Audrey Schulman (August 2003). A global perspective on why access to contraception is important. Uses RISUG to illustrate the hurdles facing contraceptive development. Contains minor inaccuracies; contact MCIP for corrections.
Men’s Health: “Shouldn’t You Be on the Pill?” by Bill Gifford (May 2003). Entertaining, thought-provoking discussion of men’s rights and paternity issues, with coverage of hormonal male contraceptive research and brief coverage of other male contraceptive research. “When it comes to birth-control options, women have all the choices — and men have all the responsibilities. Here’s why…”
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