Research updates
2. New methods of contraception   page 3
Go back a page
Go forward a page
3. A contraceptive pill for men Link to the Medical Research Council web site
Millions of women have used contraceptive pills for the past 40 years. Is it time we had a male equivalent to the contraceptive pill for women?
Getting the men involved: acceptability studies
Central to the development of any new method of contraception is its acceptability to potential users but, until the CDN began to investigate attitudes to contraception, little was done in this area. This is surprising because concern that men might not use a contraceptive pill was a major disincentive to investment into development of the male pill.
How do men feel about hormonal methods?
The CDN carried out surveys in Edinburgh, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Shanghai to see what men and women feel about new methods of contraception. The majority of men surveyed in all centres thought that they should take more responsibility for contraception than at present, but certain cultural differences were observed. Chinese men and black South African men were less likely to be in favour of a hormonal method of contraception.
Which method do men prefer?
Men were also asked what method they would prefer: condoms, a daily pill, three-monthly injections or a long term hormone implant. A daily pill was first choice for men in Edinburgh and second for men in Cape Town, where top preference was the three-monthly injection. Chinese men strongly preferred condoms while long-term implants were the least popular option in Edinburgh, Cape Town and Hong Kong. It is interesting to note that these results mirror the most popular methods used by women in the respective centres – the combined pill in Edinburgh and injectables in Cape Town. Male condoms are very popular in Hong Kong, whereas in Shanghai, where the ‘one child only policy’ is enforced, the most popular method used by women is the IUD and long term implants were found to be relatively popular among Shanghai men.
How big an issue is trust?
Many discussions about the male pill end by speculating whether women would trust their partners to use the method reliably. To determine the views of women the CDN surveyed women attending family planning clinics at the centres above. In all four centres the great majority of women thought that it was a good idea. Asked why they thought so, over 84% of these women agreed that it would allow a more equal sharing of responsibility for contraception.
Go back a page Go to the top of the page Go forward a page

Question 3

You could do this question working in a group of three.

a) Make a list of different methods of contraception.

b) Discuss how each method is used and consider its advantages and disadvantages.

Method Advantages Disdvantages
c) Suggest two or three examples where people from different cultures are likely to vary in the way they rate these advantages and disadvantages.

Click below to see your comments and (appoint a spokesperson to) report to the class.