Yup, you read that right. The National Institutes of Health plans to test out a contraceptive gel for men in a clinical trial. If approved by the FDA, the new birth control gel would be rubbed onto men’s backs and shoulders and absorbed into the bloodstream. The gel contains a form of progesterone that reduces sperm production.
The trial will consist of two phases to determine effectiveness, and hopefully, the FDA will be able to approve the gel in the nearby future. This is amazing news, since women have always had to bear the responsibility of hormonal birth control, suffering side effects such as nausea, breast soreness, migraines, weight gain, mood swings, increased blood pressure, and decreased libido, among others.
This isn't the first attempt at birth control options for men. A previous study testing a male birth control drug was halted because of safety concerns from an independent review board. One study participant was rendered permanently infertile, and another committed suicide.
Hopefully, this gel will be more effective and less dangerous than the previous drug. If this is achieved, reproductive healthcare will expand to include more men, easing the burden placed on women and reducing unwanted pregnancies. The more contraceptive options, the merrier!