The idea of a male birth control pill may seem like a novelty, but it’s not.
For roughly the last half-century, researchers have studied different hormonal drugs with that singular purpose in mind.
None have ever reached the market.
Drug companies are apparently uninterested in them. Perhaps men are too.
But the lag between the development of female and male hormonal contraception is far more complex, driven by social reasons and scientific ones.
A large part of why male hormonal birth control has seemingly fallen by the wayside is simple.
“The pill” combines the hormones estrogen and progestin and is capable of preventing pregnancy in females. First approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960, it was more revolutionary than anyone could have imagined.
The popularity and efficacy of the birth control pill, however, also had the unintended consequence of cementing the role of women as the bearers of the contraceptive burden.
In the shadow of such a monumental development in human reproduction, a male birth control pill might almost seem redundant.
But in the years since, researchers say that not only would such a drug fill an unmet need — namely as another effective method of reducing unplanned pregnancies — but also finally rectify the burden of contraception on women.
You won’t see male birth control on store shelves this year or next. But researchers are hopeful you will in the next decade.