Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 08:51 UK

Could male jab help prevent pregnancies?


A contraceptive injection for men could be as good at preventing pregnancies as the female pill or condoms, trials have shown. Could it be an effective option?

The monthly testosterone injection works by temporarily blocking sperm production and could revolutionise birth control, experts believe.

In trials in China only one man in 100 fathered a child while on the injections.

Family planning campaigners welcomed the news and said they hoped an injection would give couples more choice and enable men to take a greater share of the responsibility for contraception.

Do you agree the injection could cut unwanted pregnancies? What are the drawbacks, if any? Would you or your partner consider using it?

Thank you very much for your contributions to this debate. It is now closed.

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Your comments:

We should be promoting safe sex to combat against STD's. This is not effective against that. Saying that, if you are in a committed long-term relationship then this is a good idea as long as there's no long-term effects.
James Stains, Wigan

This is great and contraception should not be down to choice if a person is not married or in a long-term relationship they should be made to use contraception. I am sick of children not knowing who their dads are and not being in their lives - it is wrong.
Hookit, Wakefield

I love hearing all the excuses from guys! Men have had it easy up to now. All the fears about this jab Women had to go through with the pill and much worse. Come on guys be men, give the women a break.
Will Smith, Oxford

This is priceless! Men don't want to take responsibility for contraception because of the potential side effects and because they would have to go to the doctor to collect it. What do you imagine being on the female methods is like??

Points to consider:-
1) It has (so far) a 1% failure rate.
2) It does not prevent the spread of STI's
3) Is it really risk free? (Yes, I am a man and therefore concerned)
4) If you are a woman and the chap says "No problems I have had the jab", are you really going to believe him, (Really?)
Andrew Allen, London, England

This jab thing might even lead to more female pregnancies and widespread of STIs. Every man is going to say is under the injection. How are we going to separate the blue's from the reds? What of the popular teenage sexual experimentations?
Nyambati Aori, Tx, USA

It sounds like you must go to the doctor every month. I don't think it would be too successful like that.
Alan, Sydney, Australia

Quite frankly, I wouldn't trust a man to put out the rubbish, let alone have full responsibility for my fertility.
Anon, London

This is such a great idea - I can't wait for it to hit the market! For a long time, women alone have carried the responsibility for birth control. It's about time men shouldered some of that burden. However I'm worried about how men receptive men will be to this novel idea. If this is going to be successful, more research is needed on the reasons why so many of the study participants quit using the contraceptive, even though there were no serious side effects.
Nana Koram, Accra, Ghana

Side effects permitting, it would only be suitable for men in steady relationships as a great element of trust would be need on the female side to believe the man had had the jab. Have the dimwits that advocate it for teenage boys not heard of STD?
B Thouless, France

Firstly, a 99% success rate is no where near good enough for a contraceptive. Also, there is very little incentive for men in casual relationships to tell the truth about this. Mechanical methods remain the most effective and safest ways to avoid pregnancy.
Andrew, Norwich, UK

Unless I am very much mistaken penetrative sex requires at least two people, therefore responsibility for it should be shared. Raising a child takes two. You're all saying men can't be trusted, but let's face it, most girls can't either. So it's about time men who seem too gullible to use a condom, have another alternative. And yes I think teens should be made to have it, we are far too soft on underage pregnancy.
L Sanderson, Aylesbury

An injection is not needed. If a woman gives a man a jab in the ribs at the right moment then that could also reduce pregnancies, which would not need all the resources and emission that medication production and delivery etc. needs.
Iain, Doncaster Britain

I think that it is a breakthrough in terms of who can take responsibility within a real longer term relationship. I am more than happy to get the injection. The only downsides I see is that it doesn't educate any males into being responsible in a wider sexual health sense. Still nothing is perfect but this is is close.
Noel, Bristol

"They should make it compulsory to all 14-19 year old boys, no? That would solve a lot of problems!" Katehaley
What problems precisely Kate ??
Dazz, Worthing

Any form of contraception is only as effective as its least willing user. I don't see why anyone who can't be bothered with other forms of contraception would be expected to go for this one, especially as it involves another thing - injection - which many people have a fear of. So, although it adds to the range of choice that a couple have, it's not a magic wand to prevent pregnancies by those who can't be bothered with such things.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

I don't know why women are so keen for men to take responsibility for contraception. If men got pregnant, there's no way they'd leave the responsibility for contraception to women, at least, I wouldn't. People should take responsibility for what goes on inside their own bodies, and the fact is that women get pregnant, not men.
Roger, London

I would love to be able to double/triple up on contraception as even though I am on the pill, getting pregnant is still a large concern of mine. If my partner decided to receive this jab I would still stay on the pill, not because I wouldn't trust him, but because I would want to be in control of it, for peace of mind, as the consequences would mostly effect myself.
Natalie, Southend, Essex

Like any contraceptive its will only be effective if the men concerned use it as it should be used. Knowing how lots of men are none to keen on injections will they keep up the routine of monthly needles. And what proof would a girl have that the guy has had his jab? After all it's the female who suffers if she forgets her pill.
RosieInLondon, London UK

Poor poor men, of course we should test the jab to extinction if it will cause "mood swings and a lowered sex drive"!!! The female pill only causes mood swings, migraines, weight gain, breast cancer and, potentially, DVT. Yet we've been taking it for years.
Una Jovanovic, Enfield, UK

If you're in a stable relationship, then this injection might just be the answer to a lot of couples wishes. However if I were a female having one night stands or short term relationships, no way would I trust anyone claiming to be on the male contraceptive, and this of course doesn't take into account the added protection of condoms against STDs.
Stu, newcastle uk

Ross in Lancaster - thank god there are still some men with a sensible perspective! Of course the female pill isn't perfect, we have to visit the doctor to get it, we suffer side effects, we have to remember to take it every day and shoulder that responsibility.

From the comments many men have left on here, it's clear they have never even thought about the impact that contraception has on their partners and how lightly they have got off for so long.
Rootoo, Leeds

Whilst it seems effective there is no way I would put that responsibility on or give that much control to anyone else. It is me who would end up dealing with the consequences and not the man. If I don't want to end up pregnant then it is my responsibility to make sure that I've taken preventative measures.
Jennifer, Newcastle

In terms of equality and good common sense, this injection could be a god-send. 'Healthy choice' and 'shared responsibility' would then be the key operative, meaningful phrases.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

It's about time! The female hormonal balance fluctuates enough as it is. Lots of us women don't like taking pills. Thank goodness for this! Men can finally be held more accountable!
Melissa, Ohio, USA

Personally, I am so sick of having to put up with contraceptives interfering with my body. If this comes out on the NHS, my boyfriend and I will finally be able to take it in turns to use contraception, instead of me being forced to shoulder all the responsibility and rubbish side effects of it. This is a fantastic breakthrough.
Sileas Campbell, Oban, Scotland

It may prevent pregnancies. It won't prevent the spreading of infections. Therefore, I think condoms are the best option. I also don't want to be messing around with my body's chemistry.
Richard Smart, Barry

I laugh at the number of men saying they'd be worried about unpleasant side effects and future health problems. I wonder if they all have the same concern for women on the pill/implant/contraceptive injection!
Jude, UK

A lot of men would decline it in case of side effects no doubt. Like the pill and the coil are side effect free right! Come on men - take some responsibility!
Kate, Bristol

What woman would believe the "its ok I have had the jab line" unless in a very stable relationship.As a young man I could have saved a fortune (on condoms) by telling fibs !Future consequences did not concern me, only those moments.
Ron , Liverpool

Hmmmm... given the problems already apparent in healthy sperm production in the UK messing around further with male fertility might not be the best plan. Coupled of course with all the side effects of having a high testosterone level - aggression, heart problems, skin problems, acne, etc.
G-Man, Brussels, Belgium

I have tremendous difficulty finding a contraception method which works for me, I would love to pass the responsibility over to my boyfriend.

My only worry is how easy it is to receive. The pill I use at the moment required a doctor's appointment. I know my boyfriend would not be happy to take the time out of work once every three months to visit his GP. Lou

I think it's a great idea. I would like to know more about the research. What, if any side-effects are there, and how do these compare with the pill for women? This is a huge break through. For too long women have born the brunt of preventing pregnancies and it's high time that scientiests mess with men's hormones instead of just women's! Of course to prevent STIs, the condom would still be necessary.
Nanci Hogan, Luton, UK

Do men get pregnant? Are there any real consequences if they get a girl pregnant? Until the answer to one of those questions is a yes then what incentive is there for men to have the injection rather than just say they have had it?
Phil, Liverpool

I've been with my girlfriend for six years now, wedding next year and this would be a very tempting option seems as she had to come off the pill due to a blood clot. We're in our 20s, don't ever want children, I'd be tempted by the 'snip' but this would give me the option in the future should we change our minds. I'd say it's an excellent idea for people like me.
Mark, Cardiff

Er, Tom in Wolverhampton, no method of contraceptive (apart from abstinence) is 100% effective...
Ezika, Cardiff

I think it's good that men have the option to take a 'female version of the pill', however, I think that people should be encouraged to use both a condom and/or the female/male pill/injection - especially if it's a new partner or a one night stand. Otherwise STIs WILL increase.
Rosie Smith, Perth


katehaley tweets:

They should make it compulsory to all 14-19 year old boys, no? That would solve a lot of problems!

A very mild mannered friend of mine underwent medical trials for this type of injection and was subject to bouts of uncharacteristic anger and irritation. Therefore, not sure if this is the answer.
Mishnok, Edinburgh

I like all the comments suggesting that this will lead to an epidemic of STIs. Are all STIs spread by men? I think not. I'd use a condom because I wouldn't trust a women to be free of infection.
Peter, Notts

It may do - but my other half won't take it as he is scared of needles.
Jennifer Williams, Salisbury

I'm a bit wary about the idea of injecting large amounts of testosterone, but if it's safe, this is great news. Responsible/paranoid men will be able to massively reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy, and without troubling the woman at all!
James, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Hooray! Not only will my partner and I be able to triple up on contraception, the idea that women 'get themselves pregnant' could actually finally die with men having an equal capability of preventing conception.
Anna, Staffordshire

Anything to help reduce the world population must be a good idea. The vast majority of youngsters have grown up to believe that casual sex with anyone they please is the norm, and think nothing of the consequences. It might also reduce the number of teenage girls getting pregnant just to get a home and state benefits.
Milvusvestal, Ramsey, England

Not much use as a barrier to spreading AIDS, though.
Darkseid, Llangollen, North Wales

The jab might work, but how can a woman be sure the man is not lying about having had a jab? The risk of pregnancy / STDs is too high. Condoms are still the best solution.
Silvia, Weiden, Germany

I would happily take it if:

1) It worked

2) There were no unpleasant side effects. I would particularly be worried about any changes in my personality e.g. aggression.
Philip Le Roux, Aldershot Hampshire

I hope this has been fully researched. I would never take it because I could see a headline in 10 years time saying that an unknown side effect is damaging men in some horrible way. I would stick to the conventional methods.

I'm certain it will have a positive effect on reducing birth rates, but I'm equally certain that instances of STD will soar.

The knowledge that you are very unlikely to impregnate your partner (be it causal or long term), means mass abandonment of the condom.
S McCann, Glasgow

I would never trust someone who says they have had the injection. Boys lie about things sexual and they don't get pregnant anyway. I would want to make sure I didnt turn out to be the one in one hundred!
Katie, Oxshot, England

Given China's recent record on health and safety I'd be inclined to wait until European trials had been completed before I tried this jab.

Once it's been proven to be safe and effective I'd be willing to give it a try although this would be dependant on it being available from the chemist as I wouldn't want to have to go to the Doctors once a month for the injection as it'd be too time consuming.
beneboy, Liverpool

'In trials in China only one man in 100 fathered a child while on the injections.' Well that's no good, is it? That means if 1,000,000 men use the jab, 10,000 will father unwanted children. Stick to the usual methods - if a thing ain't broke, don't fix it.
Tom, Wolverhampton

Presumably this would be given to men in stable relationships only? It wouldn't work for single men - it wouldn't stop STIs, and you wouldn't be able to trust men were telling the truth.

Personally, I would not be willing to entrust this responsibility to someone else, even it it were my husband. After all, it would be me who carries the consequences!
Jobananas, Uxbridge, UK

For couples this gives them an extra level of safety of birth control. Being single myself I would be tempted to use this injection, but I would still use a condom to be safe
Stephen, Cardiff

I'm glad there is an option to help men avoid unplanned pregnancies in long-term relationships, but is any woman in a more casual relationship going to stop asking her man to wear a condom because he says he's on the pill? Unlikely, unless she is a bit daft.
Claire, Beckenham, Kent

So since 2003 they've been saying this is effective and STILL nothing has happened.

"Previous attempts to develop an effective and convenient male contraceptive have encountered problems over reliability and side effects, such as mood swings and a lowered sex drive."

Shame they haven't bothered to iron out these things in the female pill! Men keep winning the battle...
MPJ, Reading

This may be the way forward. I know not all women think like this, but in my area I have lost count of the number of young mums who have kids purely because they are 'lonely' or wanted the benefits. Many of these kids were conceived against the father's wishes and in some cases the fathers are not known. I see this as an amazing break through, allowing men to have more control on when and if they become fathers.

This is all very well, but I wouldn't trust someone else with contraception. Sometimes you have to take responsibility for these things yourself. I can see this leading to even more teenage pregnancies.
Cat, Waltham Abbey, UK

'In trials in China only one man in 100 fathered a child while on the injections.' Well that's no good, is it? That means if 1,000,000 men use the jab, 10,000 will father unwanted children. Stick to the usual methods - if a thing ain't broke, don't fix it.

Tom, Wolverhampton

That's 1% mate. The same odds as a condom, or the pill.

I think its about time men were given the opportunity to take control as all too often you hear them say I thought she was on the pill, I wanted her to have an abortion but she kept it etc. I agree with others on here that boys lie about many things to do with sex and it will not prevent STI's which are at an all time high. There is no real substitution for condoms when it comes to casual sex. In long term relationships it could work as I know some women get very bad side effects from the pill so would welcome their partner taking this responsibility.
Claire, Yorkshire

To Tom, Wolverhampton condoms are only around 97% effective and the current female pill around 97-99% depending on the make so if this injection worked at a rate of 99% it would be brilliant.
Claire , Yorkshire

Judging by some comments here, it seems some people think that this is some kind of contraception for the types of people who pick up partners in bars or have casual sex! I would imagine that the majority of people using this would be men in committed relationships who don't want children (for now). It's a great idea - women have been pumping themselves full of hormones etc. for much too long.
Rachel in Kentucky, Louisville, KY, USA

There seems to be a recurring theme from the male HYSers, in that "if it ain't broke then don't fix it"...well maybe it is broke. Maybe it's time that contraception stopped falling at the feet of women and was shared equally by both partners. You can't have your cake and eat it fellas.
Leanne Evans, Glasgow, United Kingdom

Of course it could. But how many men could we trust to have it, short of taking them to the doctors and actually seeing the jab administered?!?
Sue Hudson, London, England

So what if a bit of aggression is a side-effect? It's also one of the possible side-effects of the female pill (that, and a whole bunch of others). Why do people make such a fuss about the side-effects of this particular contraceptive when they don't seem to be bothered about what women have to suffer? The female pill is anything but perfect.
Ross, Lancaster, UK

This would only be ideal for couples in a stable relationship and may very well help prevent an unwanted pregnancy. However, single men still ought to play their part by using a condom. Not only should this prevent an unwanted pregnancy but a case of unwanted STD's as well.
Maureen, Reigate

I think this is a good idea. Men should not rely on women taking some form of contraceptive. I know that if I don't take the pill, my partner would be annoyed and blame me for forgetting. I think it's about time they take some of the responsibility (I find that men forget to have condoms on them most of the time)

"Could male jab help prevent pregnancies?"
Obviously yes. Will it reduce unwanted pregnancies is another question. Does anyone really believe girls get pregnant because they didn't understand the mechanics of how it happened? Another contraceptive option is not a bad thing but what we really need is restraint and less promiscuity.
Peter, Rushden, UK

How funny that men are so concerned about the potential side effects, but are happy for women to have to deal with the side effects of the pill/injection/implant etc! My boyfriend and I would be happy to try it, but if I had just met someone I'd stick to condoms - getting pregnant isn't necessarily the worst thing that can happen because of unprotected sex!
Luella, Southampton, UK

I'm sorry, I would have a problem trusting any man with a decision that could affect my life so fundamentally. It's my body - my responsibility.
Skeptik, Broadstairs

I'd be keen to see how this study stands up to further scrutiny but if the current findings are shown to be correct then I'd be more than happy to have this injection whenever necessary. A lasting form of contraception for men has been long overdue.
Tom, Liverpool

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