Ready for Male contraceptive pills?

What is the height of taking someone for granted? 

Expecting only one participant in an act involving two to bear the responsibiity of preventing an unplanned outcome. 

Women – generations, and scores of them – have been confounded by how easy medicine has been on men on the subject of safe sex. No, condoms don’t cut it. Sexual intercourse requires two participants, and it is quite ridiculous to expect just one (female, obviously) to be on pills, or undergo clinical procedures/take a heavy-duty emergency contraceptive pill in case of an unplanned pregnancy.

Perhaps a time to balance things out is coming near with the world’s (should it meet FDA standards) first contraceptive pills for men just one clinical trial away from being commercially available. Indonesian pharmacist, Bambang Prajogo, has discovered an enzyme in the Justicia gendarussa plant that prevents a sperm’s ability to fertilise an egg. Refining and extracting it  was the key for Professor Bambang and a team of scientists at East Java’s Airlangga University.

The plant, boiled into a bitter gruel, had long proved an effective male contraceptive used by ethnic West Papuan men to avoid impregnating their brides while they paid off their dowry. However, taking it in this form had a downside  —  it had to be ingested no more than 30 minutes before intercourse for it to be effective.

Three successive human trials — the last using 350 ­couples — have been completed with a 99.96 per cent success rate. More importantly, the trials also proved the pill’s reversibility and that virility was restored without side effect within three days after a user stops taking it.

Bambang Prajogo with the Justicia gendarussa plants 

Its effect on the worldwide market for female contraceptives would be massive as well, with a Bloomberg report speculating a new birth control method for men could capture as much as half the $13bn industry.

It could still be three years before the contraceptive pills hit Indonesian and international shelves. Wondering if this will ever gain popularity among its target demography? Here’s an incentive – apart from keeping unforeseen fatherhood at bay, it also effectively increases libido, which might make it a potential competitor to viagra.

-by Zaiceka Ahmed 

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