For as far back as any of us can remember, not getting pregnant has very much been down to the woman to control. Apart from the ‘probably been there too long’ wallet condom that most men carried around in their 20’s, the market for female contraceptives have always ruled the roost. Now though, Dr’s and women all over the world are looking to answer the question:
‘Is it better to unload the gun than to cover the target?’
Vasagel is ‘a non-hormonal polymer that blocks vas deferens‘ or to you and me, its a gel that is injected into the sperm tubes which blocks them and stops the sperm from being able to enter the penis. It is fully reversible and less invasive than a full vasectomy and after successful tests on baboons, it is now ready for human trials.
As a woman myself, this raises more than just the question of can it work or not.
After over a decade of dating and relationships, my biggest question is would I trust someone else to be in charge of whether I get pregnant or not? After all, it would be me that would either have to have a baby I didn’t plan or exercise my right to choose, both of which are massive biological and psychological events in a woman’s life.
Magazines are full of stories of women that lied to men about taking the pill in order to get pregnant and even though the general consensus is that men do not want kids as much as women do, there are guys out there with say, work committed wives that don’t want to get pregnant that could now be in control of whether they start a family or not.
Also, it makes you think back to all the times you’ve had to have the ‘do you have a condom’ conversation and just how many times you’ve heard them say anything at all, just to get their end away in the heat of the moment.
‘I’ll pull out’
‘It’s ok, I can’t have kids’
‘I’m allergic to condoms’
Whatever it is, we have all heard one excuse at least once in our sexual lives and at least then, we have the choice to back away and refuse entry without one. But how could you trust something you can’t see? Of course, men have been doing that for years with us, trusting that we are in fact on the pill, but with the stakes higher on our side, surely we are more likely to ensure we’re covered?
And another concern for me would be STD’s. The pill stops you getting pregnant, but it doesn’t stop you from contracting some pretty nasty diseases. Of course, your advice for using any non-condom form of contraception is always that they are best used within a long term relationship, where you know that you are not going to be at risk. But what if your partner cheats on you? Then you are at risk because they would be less likely to use a condom as they know they cant get the other girl pregnant.
I asked a few guys if they would take the male form of the pill.
‘Why would I bother, no girl will EVER trust that I had taken it, so would end up using a jonny anyway’
‘If it blocks my tubes, then could it get infected or cause me to be infertile?’
‘What’s the point? Most girls are on the pill nowadays anyway’
It seemed to be that they think the same as us; trust is a big thing, but it seemed apparent that men these days see the pill as a girl issue. Something we have been in control of, and quite successfully it seems, for so long now, that if it isn’t broke, why fix it?
Well, vasagel needs one treatment to be effective over extended periods of time. It also only requires a second ‘flush’ injection to reverse the effects, giving back immediate fertility, whereas female hormone contraception’s can take years to leave the system. Add to that the fear inducing list of side affects that female contraceptives can have on the body.
High blood pressure, low blood pressure, weight gain , blood clots, nausea, irregular bleeding….the list goes on. I have a history of blood lots in my family, as well as high blood pressure, and yet I was still sat in the Dr’s office begging them to put me on the pill. So surely, I would be one candidate that would benefit of my boyfriend using vasagel? Especially as, so far, there are NO reported signs of ANY side effects to mens bodys, minds or reproductive systems.
The funny thing is, I for one would not stop taking my pill, even if my boyfriend started to use vasagel. Surely two goalies in the net are better than one right?
It seems that the biggest thing to block this injection from reaching the market, however isn’t the consumers reservations, so much as it is the female contraception markets need to sell you your pill on a regular basis. Not getting pregnant is big bucks on the pharmaceutical market and they won’t want to see a decline in use.
The more you read about vasagel, the more you find yourself thinking ‘why am I putting my body through all this when this solution is so much easier?’ Can you convince young men as young as 15 (the average age that girls ask to go on the pill) that it is just as much their responsibility to not end up a father as it is for their female peers to not end up a mother? And that even if they are on this injection, they still need to use a condom? It seems unlikely.
Can you re-train a generation of women that have been in control of this subject to let go of the responsibility and put the fate of their body and mind in the hands of someone else?
I for one don’t think that I could. I love my boyfriend, who I have been with for a long time and I trust him as much as it is possible to trust another person. If he said he was on the pill, I would believe him, but for some reason, it would still take me a lot of convincing to stop my pill as well and give him complete responsibility on this one.
I asked him if he would take it. His immediate concerns were what it would do to his body and long term fertility, as well as the fact that it had not been around as long as the pill so would have to see it on the market and working for a long time before he would get involved.
I think by the time vasagel comes on to the market (they reckon by 2017), we ALL need to be more aware of what it can, and can’t do and the plans for it need to be as transparent as possible for us all.
I would love to hear your opinions on this, both male and female. Would you trust it? Would you use it? What would be your concerns?