Philip Werthman, FACS (Director, Center for Male Reproductive Medicine) gives expert video advice on: How effective are condoms at preventing pregnancy? and more...
How can a man contribute to contraception?
Men have a big responsibility when it comes to contraception or birth control. Clearly we know that women can take a birth control pill or have an I.U.D. or use a diaphragm or use rhythm method or get their tubes tied. There are a variety of different methods of birth control for men. Number one being condoms. Clearly, condoms do a variety of different things. They prevent birth. It's something the man can control. So he knows if he's wearing a condom and using it appropriately, the chances of conception aren't zero, but they're low. Which means that there aren't any, "Oops I forgot to take my pill." It really leaves things in the hands of the man. Obviously there are drawbacks with condoms. They're cumbersome, they're awkward, they decrease pleasure and sensation. The other method of contraception for men is vasectomy. Which is really the only method of permanent male birth control.
How effective are condoms at preventing pregnancy?
When used properly, condoms are very effective at both preventing pregnancy and also preventing sexually transmitted disease: probably in the 90+% range when used appropriately.
Is work being done to develop a contraceptive pill for men?
There has been much research in the field of male contraception and a variety of different ideas have been proposed to try to develop a male pill. And those looked at anything from regulating a mans hormones to shut down sperm production in the testicle, to using other medication that would prevent the sperm from penetrating the egg by altering the chemical structure of the membrane of the sperm. All these avenues of research are promising but none has yet been shown to have high efficacy. The effects can be intermittent and that can be a disastrous to someone who is trying to not get pregnant and relying on these techniques. Clearly, whoever develops a reliable, safe, effective, low cost method of oral contraception for men is going to do the world a great service.