FRIDAY SPECIAL: Family Planning Methods For Men

FRIDAY SPECIAL: Family Planning Methods For Men

With Eranga Isaac

Men may choose their own contraceptive method for a variety of reasons, but perhaps none more important than relieving themselves of the emotional and financial burden unwanted pregnancies bring. Family planning methods for men either prevent sperm from leaving a man’s body, block it from entering a woman’s body, or render sperm immotile or interfere with its ability to fertilize an egg. For many couples, contraception is largely the responsibility of the woman. Many of the most reliable forms of birth control are designed for women, although men can take an active role in preventing unplanned pregnancies. The most effective non-permanent form of birth control focuses on blocking sperm from fertilizing eggs in the uterus. However, research continues on new methods of effective contraception designed for use by men.


The technical name for withdrawal or “pulling out” during intercourse is “coitus interruptus,” which refers to the interruption of sex before the male ejaculates, Planned Parenthood explains. Using the withdrawal method requires no prescription or equipment, but a man must be able to determine when he is close to climax, and possess the discipline to pull out beforehand. However, pregnancy can still occur even when withdrawal occurs in time, because pre-ejaculation fluid may still contain sperm, according to Dr. Roger Harms, writing for The withdrawal method has a failure rate of 17 percent to 27 percent, according to


Condoms prevent pregnancy by forming a barrier between a man’s semen and a woman’s vagina and uterus, according to The three types are latex, polyurethane and animal skin. Latex condoms are the most common and least expensive, but also more likely to cause irritation due to latex allergies, according to Epigee. Latex and polyurethane condoms also offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms can break, which creates the risk of semen entering the uterus. Condoms have a failure rate of 1 in 50, according to


A vasectomy is an operation to cut the vas deferens, which carry sperm into the penis during sexual intercourse. After the operation, sperm count decreases gradually until the man is considered to be infertile. Vasectomy is considered to be a permanent form of birth control, although vasectomy reversals for men who later wish to father children are approximately 50 percent successful, according to

Vasectomy does not adversely affect a man’s sexual performance. Research has also determined that a vasectomy does not increase a man’s risk for prostate cancer, according to Dr.Todd B. Nippoldt, writing for When performed correctly, the chance of a man impregnating a woman after a vasectomy is less than 0.1 percent, according to Epigee.

“The Male Pill” And Male Hormone Injections

As of August 2010, the male birth control pill shared a similar status with “female Viagra,”–more the subject of speculation and research than a viable product for the market, according to Women who participated in research conducted at Teeside University in England, where trials for a male contraceptive pill began in 2010, expressed doubts that men would actually take a pill every day, according to Science Daily. Men do not get pregnant, and therefore lack the motivation women have to remember to take a pill daily, claims professor emeritus John Guillebaud of University College London, quoted by

Guillebaud favors implants on a man’s upper arm, where women can readily check for their presence. A 2009 trial conducted by the University of Manchester tested injections of testosterone combined with a second hormone designed to suppress sperm production, Science Daily reported. Previous studies conducted in China showed that male hormonal injections had a similar rate of effectiveness as “the Pill” for women, according to Dr. Frederick Wu, lead researcher for the study.

Sperm motility

Sperm motility is simply the ability of sperm to propel themselves forward to reach the goal of fertilizing the egg. Immotile sperm are often the cause of infertility in couples.


There are three main things doctors look for when analyzing sperm: count, motility and malformations. If any one of those things is abnormal, male fertility is compromised.


Sperm motility is monitored and given a score from A through D. A sperm move the quickest while D sperm don’t move at all, according to How to Have a Baby: Overcoming Infertility, by Dr. Aniruddha Malpani and Dr. Anjali Malpani.


Some men can correct their sperm’s lack of motility by taking L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine protein supplements, suggests


In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of fertility treatment used for those with sperm motility problems, according to an article by Dr. Jacob Rajfer, “Enhancement of Sperm Motility in Assisted Reproduction.”

Expert Insight

Dr. Rajfer suggests it could be possible to “wake up” immotile sperm during IVF by using caffeine analogues.

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