Men's birth control intriguing possibility, students say

Male birth control is cautiously welcomed concept within the Central Michigan University student community.

The technology being researched, according to the Detroit Free Press, would serve as the male equivalent of "the pill."

The technology has been difficult to develop due to the workings of human sexuality. While females only produce one egg approximately once a month, an easy target for the medication to neutralize, males produce an average of 1500 sperm per second, which they do continuously throughout the day, every day.

Previous attempts have focused on hormones, which has the unfortunate side effect of testicular shrinkage, a tough sell in any market. With a new non-hormonal approach in the works, students might again be looking at a new sexual landscape.

Brynn McDonnell, a Rockford sophomore, said she welcomes the change, whenever it does arrive.

"I think the technology is a long time coming," McDonnell said. "I think it is important for people to take control of their own bodies and their own reproductive destinies. I would be happy if men started using birth control if they so choose."

While testicular shrinkage might still be an issue, McDonnell sees male birth control as an easier sell in our society, but not necessarily for the right reasons.

"I also would be interested to see how the male birth control is regulated. Would there be as many politicians rooting for conscience clauses or strict counseling for men trying to seek birth control? Would laws be enacted so that men under 17 would have to have parental permission to receive birth control?" McDonnell asked. "I think birth control for men would be less regulated by the government and less stigmatized. Our culture is afraid of women's expression of sexuality."

Overall, McDonnell sees this as just another step in a long line of new technology.

"Just looking at the evolution of birth control in the last 50 years, we've gone from the pill for married couples, to the pill, to other forms like the patch, shot and (intrauterine device)," McDonnell said. "I think eventually this will catch on."

Arthur DeCamp, a Grand Rapids senior, said he sees men being open to the idea of taking the pill. Popping a pill is a lot easier than putting on a condom.

"It's hard to speak on behalf of all men, but I think that most men would welcome the opportunity to avoid unwanted pregnancy," DeCamp said.

DeCamp also sees our society's approach toward the men's pill to be a little less biased.

"Today's society would suggest that it would be covered under insurance plans and become more accepted," DeCamp said. "As a culture, we tend to be patriarchal"


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