With the exception of condoms and vasectomy, contraception is typically left up to the woman. Pills, patches, and shots are among the many choices in a woman's contraceptive repertoire. Until now, men have had little to choose from, so researchers have been searching for new options. Now, they may have one.
Condoms have a user-failure rate of up to 12 percent. Vasectomies are considered permanent. Dr. Wang, of Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute, says women shouldn't be the only ones with multiple options.
"We think that males really, firstly, should take part in the family planning responsibility, so having children is a couples' responsibility," Dr. Wang says. To give men more say in the matter, she is studying implantable rods that contain progestin and testosterone. Together, those hormones suppress sperm production.
After the implants, normal sperm activity is all but eliminated.
The rods are initially implanted in the individuals arm .Once the rods are removed, normal sperm production returns within 12 weeks. The rods are still under study, while researchers find the optimal dose and method to deliver the hormones. Dr. Wang says these rods could be as effective at preventing pregnancy as the pill is for women. It's important to emphasize that the rods do not protect against STDs, and condoms should be used for protection against diseases.