Controversy in Contraceptives: Injecting a change

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Lauren Merrill

Birth control in the form of a pill has been around since before the 1930s and numerous types of birth controls for women have been developed since then including contraceptive in the form of shots and IUDs.

Hormone-based contraceptives are concerning because not only can they be ineffective, but they come with some frightening side effects.

For example, the pill has been known to cause blood clots, strokes, weight gain and severe changes in mood. Other forms of birth control can be just as risky.

On top of these side effects, women have the sole role in finding the means to pay for the costs that come with most contraceptives.

This leads many to wonder why more forms of male contraceptives are not available beyond condoms and vasectomies. One form of male birth control that exists today, but is not available to the public yet, was discovered in the 1970s by Sujoy Guha, a professor of biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology.

This birth control works by injecting synthetic gel into each testicle. The gel then settles in the sperm passageway and blocks sperm from exiting.

The injection can last for ten years and is easily reversible by injecting baking soda to dissolve the gel. The positives for this form of contraceptive are that it does not tamper with hormones and is 100 percent effective with few side effects.

This form of contraceptive is predicted to be available sometime in the next three to five years.

“I think that it would be good to have birth control options for men other than vasectomies or condoms, particularly ones that are not prone to user error and that are not hormone based, as these are just not good for our bodies,” said Richard Elmore, professor of Philosophy at Appalachian State University.

There are other forms of male birth control that are being developed such as pill forms. However, revving towards a non-hormone based birth control such as the injection suggested above seems to be the healthiest option for both men and women.

“I think [male contraceptives] would be a good idea,” said Saray Smalls, the Coordinator for Student Wellness Programs at Appalachian State University. “I’m definitely one for empowering women to take control over their bodies, but I think it is good for men to have that same empowerment too.”

Visit the Student Wellness Center on campus for any questions involving birth control and contraceptives.

Merrill, a sophomore journalism major from Chapel Hill, is an opinion writer.