There are currently more than a dozen categories of female birth control with proven efficacy on the market. For men, the only options available today are condoms and vasectomy. Despite decades of research and discussion about male contraception, no new products have entered the market since the condom was created in the 1800s. As a substantial unmet medical need impacting both sexes, male contraception deserves a lot more attention, funding, and research.
Developments in contraception have long focused on women. Following the first birth control pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960, there have been a slew of innovations in this space that led to the creation of intrauterine devices, vaginal rings, shots, implants, patches, and morning after pills. All of these have given women more ways to take charge of their fertility.
Today’s lack of male contraceptive options limits a man’s control over his own fertility, while frequently putting the responsibility of contraception on the woman. As a result, women face more health risks related to contraceptive use, ranging from nausea, breast tenderness, and mood swings, to shouldering the physical and mental burden of unplanned pregnancies. The latter burden is considerable, given roughly 48 percent of pregnancies across the world – 121 million each year – are still unplanned.