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Sunday, 23 July, 2000, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Would you trust a man to take the pill?

Men could be popping their own version of the contraceptive pill within five years - but will it catch on, and more to the point will women trust their partners to take it?

Edinburgh University scientists say the first clinical trials of the male pill suggest it is 100% effective, with no harmful side effects.

The Catholic Church says it will lead to more unplanned pregnancies and abortions, but for the many women who cannot take the pill for health reasons, this male contraception will probably be welcome news.

Would you take it? Will it lead to couples being lax about protecting themselves against STDs? Is it time men took more responsibility for contraception? Tell us what you think. HAVE YOUR SAY I'm not sure what this discussion is all about. This pill is coming. Various people will take it for their personal reasons. Most pro and contra comments here seem to be driven by egocentrical views on sex and relations.
Anna, Belgium

I can understand the paranoia some women would have about the male pill, since ultimately they bear the physiological consequences of any 'mistakes'. However, I was relieved by the level-headed comments from virtually all the women who have written in on this subject. The male pill offers more choice, and allows responsibility to be shared. If you are using this type of contraceptive in a relationship, there must be a good level of trust anyway.
Mark, UK


I am sure that if men were made more responsible for the effects of their sexual activities (i.e. children) they would be more responsible

Christopher Hobe Morrison, USA
I am sure that if men were made more responsible for the effects of their sexual activities (i.e. children) they would be more responsible. I am sure that if they had any real feelings for the women they were having sex with they would do the responsible thing. Goldie Hawn said once that women feel more responsibility than men because whatever happens it happens in their bodies. So whether men are trustworthy or not, women should NOT trust them. Well, except for me.
Christopher Hobe Morrison, USA

I think it is about time men had an equal standing on whether their want a baby or not. This pill will enable men not to be entrapped by women who want them to be fathers. However would I trust a man to use the pill as the only means of protection? No way!
Njeri, Kenya

Men trust women, don't they?
Neil, UK


Why are we looking at yet another form of contraception which involves ingesting invasive and disruptive chemicals? T

Ciara, Canada
Why are we looking at yet another form of contraception which involves ingesting invasive and disruptive chemicals? The female pill was touted as effective and risk-free or at least low-risk, and now, years later, we are finding a host of complications related to it. Have they done proper longitudinal studies for this new product? I doubt it, as pharmaceutical companies are profit (not safety) driven. While I strongly agree that men need and want to take more responsibility for birth control, I wish we could move away from chemical methods.
Ciara, Canada

The male pill, it was only time before it came out. Personally I would like the option of using it myself, my long term partner has been on the pill for some time now and we trust each other, that is not to say we are perfect but I do care about my partner and the long term effects it has on her. In society today the majority of responsibility lies mainly on the woman for protection against un-planned pregnancy. However there are males like myself would also like to take responsibility and perhaps give our partners a chance to take a break from the pill.
Richard Woodcock, UK


We all have the ability to take responsibility for these things

Michelle Crossin, UK
I think men may be more likely to lie about having problems once on the pill than women are, as there has to be a lot of pressure on them to make this new contraception work. As a recently separated young mother, I think it's important to remember what we are all trying to avoid by taking these pills and that none of us are perfect, nor can we see into the future. We all have the ability to take responsibility for these things and sexism certainly has no place in such a debate.
Michelle Crossin, UK

Why are women commenting on this anyhow? This is an issue about men's rights and freedoms. Why should "we" trust you?
Chris, UK

In answer to the question, "would you trust a man to take a contraceptive pill?", I will say that I have been surgically sterilised. I think my answer can be deduced from that fact alone.
Indira, USA

I agree with Tony from the UK. It's always been both partners responsibility to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies so it will only get more easier with the male pill!
Natalie, UK


I wouldn't trust another person with the duty of ensuring I don't end up pregnant, and that's nothing to do with not trusting men, just being responsible for my own wellbeing

Kathy, UK
Personally I wouldn't trust another person with the duty of ensuring I don't end up pregnant, and that's nothing to do with not trusting men, just being responsible for my own wellbeing. This gives men a chance to do the same. Maybe the male pill will give Tom in the UK enough confidence to get a real girlfriend or realise that if he is stupid enough to sleep with various "airheads", he should probably not be worrying about them getting pregnant, or catching various STD's.
Kathy, UK

Should people in weak, "temporary", or one-night relationships be having sex anyway? Would this not cut the rates of STD transmission and unwanted pregnancies? I think so. Perhaps an education in modern morality could benefit those who seem to need to sleep with anything with a pulse...
Del, UK

Of course men can be trusted to take the pill. There may be some concerns about mucking around with the bodies biochemistry. But look at the comments just on this page. The guys are relieved because at last they no longer have to trust the women. Doesn't that say something in itself. The freedom should help curb some of the stereotypes which women seem so ready to peddle.
Martin Lewis, UK


Most men I know would DEFINATELY take it. Who wants an unwanted baby or the paying out of maintenance?

Steve, England
Most men I know would DEFINATELY take it. Who wants an unwanted baby or the paying out of maintenance? Women who say they could trust men to take it haven't got a clue of how a man's mind works. This pill means EVEN less responsibility.
Steve, England

I would trust my partner 100%. If you have to think about whether you could trust your partner to take a contraceptive pill should you really be having sex with them anyway?
Gabbie Lomas, United Kingdom

I think what a lot of women are worried about is that men will forget to take it every day. I can safely say that faced with the choice of trying to remember to take the pill everyday of have an unwanted pregnancy, 100% of men will rather take the pill.
Ed, England


I'm not sure if there is a great need for a male pill. If you are not in a long term relationship only condoms are adequate

Dan, England
I'm not sure if there is a great need for a male pill. If you are not in a long term relationship only condoms are adequate as the greatest risk is from the contraction of STDs. If you are in a long-term relationship, then I'm sure most people will have found a suitable form of contraception. While men should always be responsible for their actions, the ultimate responsibility for contraception must lie with women, as they must bear the brunt of a lack of protection. This is not intended to be a sexist remark, merely an acknowledgement of biological facts.
Dan, England

Except in a very few cases unwanted pregnancies are the result of sefishness, ignorance and laziness, on both sides.
Jez, UK

While a male-pill is certainly a victory for fair-play, it's clearly an alternative for married or monogamous couples. The AIDS pandemic clearly means that condoms will be unmissable from any form of genital sex. My hope is this won't give young males around the world a false sense of condomless safety.
Jonathan, The Netherlands


Trust someone else with my health and well being?

Alyson, Canada
Trust someone else with my health and well being? I don't think so! At least if I am taking "The Pill" I know that some precaution is being taken.
Alyson, Canada

Sounds like a revolutionary concept, but would men remember to take them? If men are going to have to take the responsibility of being a father they can take the responsibility of taking a wee pill daily too!
Monica and Tim, Gibraltar

Personally, I have been waiting for a "Male Pill" for years. Nobody wants an unplanned pregnancy! I have known more than one single mother who has become pregnant while using the pill. In one instance, it was because she had been on antibiotics. Men have to deal with the lifetime of guilt and the 18 years of child support for their "mistake". Once the pill becomes available, I'll certainly be using it.
Andy Bonazzoli, USA

Everything in the news points towards the male population being irresponsible and lying about taking birth-control measures. However, the media is not so quick to suggest that some small percentage of the female population also lies about taking the female contraceptive pill. Given that pills are, or will soon be available for both sexes, should the question not be; "Would you trust your partner to take the pill" rather than focusing on one sex?
Tony, UK

Men have trusted us long enough with the pill, I guess we should at least give them a chance. No room for mistakes though, so any gal in a steady relationship with any doubts, be there every morning and pop it in his mouth yourself.
Mel, HK

In my country, society still values having a large number of children. Women who use any contraceptive at all, use it so secretively that the partner does not know. Researches in social science even show that it is very common for such men to keep asking the woman to bear more children for him and if not he may engage in extramarital relations or go as far as marrying the second woman. So you ask me, will you trust your partner to take the male pill? My answer is no, no, never!
Grace Akello, Uganda

If you are in a stable relationship and neither of you want children then what is stopping the man taking it? But there are sadly naive women out there who would rather risk catching an STD than use a condom and it is them who need to wake up and smell the roses. If a man says he is on it, great but he can still be on the pill AND have and STD, and the same goes for women. In a world full of distrust and dishonesty it doesn't matter who is taking the pill!
Donna, UK


This could be a way of lowering teenage pregnancies if 16 year old boys are offered the same family planning advice as girls.

John Nevitt, UK
This could be a way of lowering teenage pregnancies if 16 year old boys are offered the same family planning advice as girls. This would need to involve the prescribing of the male pill without parental consent.
John Nevitt, UK

How many men have ended up as Dads because women decided that they wanted a child and be damned; and told a little 'white lie'. Giving men the pill would give them empowerment over their own bodies and the reproduction process...something women will not like.
Gerry, Scotland

An interesting development to be sure, but us men already have a reasonably reliable form of contraception - the condom - which brings with it the added benefit of protection from STD's. I hope in marketing this new pill the 'safe sex' message isn't lost as a result.
Steve B, UK

We think that if men take the pill, they won't protect themselves and their partners against STDs.
Kapeale, England


If I "forget", or simply can't be bothered, I'm the one who has to pick up the tab for raising the little one for the next 18 years.

Nigel Harrow, UK
I find it offensive that so many women seem to think, "men don't care about contraceptive". I am married, but I don't want children just yet. If I "forget", or simply can't be bothered, although my wife's the one who gets pregnant for nine months I'm the one who has to pick up the tab for raising the little one for the next 18 years.
Nigel Harrow, UK

I agree with the Catholic Church that introducing the male pill will lead to more unwanted pregnancies. In my country, society still values children.
Grace Akello, Uganda

How much does it cost? That's a side effect straight away that would keep some people from using it.
Mark K, UK


Many men have the attitude that women should have no problem shovelling artificial hormones down their throats

Wendy, UK
Many men have the attitude that women should have no problem shovelling artificial hormones down their throats, or with messing with their bodies' natural balance, and that, given the chance they would too. It'll be interesting to see how long this lasts.
Wendy, UK

I personally would feel much happier having the responsibility in my hands than that of some airhead woman. The number of times I've heard that they are on the pill, just to get me in bed is amazing. This gives men the freedom of choice and prevents the female of the species trapping us for the rest of our lives. This is a fantastic development for men's right to choose.
Tom, UK

I'm better off with a condom. Why would I trust a bunch of academics to tell me that ingesting yet more foreign chemicals will not produce any harmful side-effects and that the pill is safe? These are the same people stuffing GMOs down my throat.
SM, USA

The final word in whether or not to terminate an unwanted pregnancy lies with the woman so, therefore, should the responsibility for contraception. Furthermore, the female pill is only an adjustment to nature's monthly pattern of fertility. No such pattern exists for the male and hence I can't believe this is risk free. We should all be able to trust our long term partners, but the same cannot be said for unseen doctors.
Nick, UK

The best method of birth control is to put a picture of Barbara Bush on your nightstand, digitally enhanced to look 100 years younger. That, I think, should be enough.
M.T.P., Texas, USA

This new technology is in addition to all those that have gone before, and need not be a replacement. If absolute trust isn't present, then the responsibility falls on everyone individually to take his or her own precautions to avoid conception. This offers men a new way to do so, nothing more, nothing less. If both participants end up on the Pill, then so much the better, if it's truly as side-effect-free as claimed.
Peter Ellis, England


The wonderful point about the male pill is that both sexes will be in control of their fertility.

Andrew C, UK
The title of this forum misses an important point. The wonderful point about the male pill is that both sexes will be in control of their fertility. This could mean the end of a woman unilaterally and secretly coming off the pill and intentionally becoming pregnant without any reference to her partner.
Andrew C, UK

I would trust my partner implicitly, contraception is a joint responsibility so why should other men shy away from that? I know my partner wouldn't.
Jayne, UK

Would I trust a man to remember to take a pill that would prevent MY getting pregnant? Are you quite mad?
Jane Green Tessitore, English in Italy

I wish this pill had been available 20 odd years ago! I would definitely take it without any hesitation.
Ken, UK


Men are better at routines than women so remembering to take the pill every day wouldn't be too difficult to incorporate into a man's daily routine.

Jim, UK
In my opinion, men are less likely to want to risk an accidental pregnancy and would therefore have no problems remembering to take it. Besides, men are better at routines than women so remembering to take the pill every day wouldn't be too difficult to incorporate into a man's daily routine.
Jim, UK

Yet again this page has become a forum for the deadheads amongst us to give wild and unfounded opinions. I expect the usual "women should be responsible for that" and "men are useless" comments. I'm all for free speech, but these freaks seem to think the whole of a gender is as warped as their partner, must we encourage such stupidity.
Matt, Netherlands, ex UK

Can you trust a man to take the pill? I should say so! In this age of supposed "equality" men are expected to cough up to provide for their kids, even if the mother tricked them into becoming a father (claiming THEY were on the pill). Young men will now be able to protect themselves against the gold diggers who think they can have a baby and get someone else to pay for it!
Jon Ranwell, UK

Women have the choice to take the pill, why shouldn't men? I think that it is a great idea for couples, especially as there are no side effects. For single people then it shouldn't matter anyway, a condom should be the only form of contraceptive which they consider.
Stacey, Germany

There is the danger that men will lure women into a false sense of security by saying they're on the pill when they're not but how many women say the same? It does happen! Sadly, there are some women who are all too willing to turn men into sperm donors, and if a man wants to protect himself from fathering kids unwittingly, he'll probably jump at the chance to take the male pill. If I was a chap, I know I would.
Laura P, UK


The majority of men don't even remember their partner's birthday, anniversary or even where their socks are for that matter

E. Thomas, Wales
The majority of men don't even remember their partner's birthday, anniversary or even where their socks are for that matter. How on earth are they going to remember to take a pill? I can just hear it; "Honey, do you know where my pills are?"
E. Thomas, Wales

I would trust my partner implicitly with the responsibility of taking this form of contraception. However, if I was single and having sex without barrier contraception, I would not trust any man who said they were taking the pill. If a woman lies about taking it, it would be because she wanted to get pregnant. If a guy lied about it, it would be because he wants sex - how else can it be seen?? The only people the male pill will benefit are those in a strong "permanent" relationship.
Lorna Hopkins, England


Perhaps, ironically, with men taking the pill, single women will actually be a little choosier about whom to sleep with now

Judith, England
Perhaps, ironically, with men taking the pill, single women will actually be a little choosier about whom to sleep with now that the woman has to trust the man for a change! However, as far as STD's go, I would advise couples to still use condoms.
Judith, England

There's nothing new about the contraceptive pill for men - you put it in your shoe and it makes you limp.
Eddie Barnett, UK

I had to come off the pill after 9 years - after constant headaches, migraines, weight gain, PMT - the list is endless. What's more, the pill, taken properly, is 99% effective, not infallible. It's about time men took the responsibility for contraception, my partner still occasionally moans about having to use condoms, but it was either that or constant painkillers.
Sarah, UK

I think the Catholics are way off the mark (yet again) in supposing that the introduction of the male pill will result in an increase in unwanted pregnancies. On the contrary, the opposite is likely if both sexes have access to convenient oral contraception instead of just one. Of course, it may result in an increase in the incidence of STDs, especially as the Government is doing nothing to improve sex education in this country (no doubt under pressure from the Christian lobby).
Phil Saum, UK

Let's think about this for a second. Take the pill (obviously within a stable relationship) and you don't have to use a condom. Don't take it and you do. How many men out there would seriously say, "I prefer a condom"? In my mind, there is no question; I would take it without reservation. As I have heard many times "wearing a condom during sex is like wearing a raincoat in the shower".
Jim, USA


Putting the dishonesty debate aside, I'm not sure I would trust a man to remember

Anon, UK
Putting the dishonesty debate aside, I'm not sure I would trust a man to remember. Many women have trouble remembering to take the pill even though it is supposedly part of a routine for them and they are the ones who face the majority of the consequences of not taking it. The uncertainty of leaving the responsibility to someone else would cause me more stress than taking a pill myself.
Anon, UK

Having only ever been in long term relationships where, for various reasons, my partner could not take the female pill, the condom was the only form of contraception and thus always my responsibility anyway. If this pill is 100% effective then it is a godsend and where do I get some? Due to the nature of long-term relationships, there is no question of the male partner lying, but casual relationships are another matter.
N, UK

I'm not entirely sure what Dr S' point is. Does he mean to say that, seeing as women already have an effective pill they can take, that men shouldn't bother themselves? Isn't it time that men started taking some sort of responsibility on this issue? If the male pill is 100% effective, has no side effects and it is better than the female version, then men should have no qualms using it!
Jenny, England


Why should it always be down to the woman to take responsibility?

Angela Freeth, UK
Why should it always be down to the woman to take responsibility? I think that the male version of the pill is an excellent idea for couples in stable relationships. But for lads out on the pull it could just be another chat up line; "Don't worry love I'm on the pill".
Angela Freeth, UK

The most effective form of safe sex for a man is still to give a false name.
Ian Hopgood, UK

Surely the question should be "would you trust your partner to take the pill?" Anyone who doubts their sexual partner's word about contraception should insist on using a condom, whether they are male or female. This question has been asked since the 60's - it's the same for women as for men.
Paul B, UK

Girls were over the moon when the female pill became available in the 1960s, so why change things now?
Dr. S, UK


It will be ideally suited to those in longstanding monogamous relationships built on trust.

John, UK
This will offer couples greater choice. It will be ideally suited to those in longstanding monogamous relationships built on trust. For everyone involved in promiscuous sex there is no alternative to the protection of a condom. Recent research shows STD's amongst young people are on the increase, which means that many are risking unprotected sex.
John, UK

To suggest men would lie about taking the pill is a little harsh. I'm as keen to avoid being hounded by the CSA for maintenance payments as any potential sexual partner is to avoid carrying an unexpected child. It would also avoid having to use alternative methods for 7 days, during menstruation.
Ed Cook, London, England

If it is 100% effective with no side effects, there would be no reason not to take it, and I personally would.
Tony Jones, UK


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23 Feb 00 | Health
Most men 'would take the pill'
05 Jan 00 | Health
Male pill moves closer
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