New contraceptive jab scares men

A new method of contraception involves men getting an injection in their private parts. Will there be any takers?
Family planning has hitherto been primarily about female contraception - be it the pill, non-hormonal intra uterine devices or surgical sterilization. For the men, the choices were either surgical procedures or the use of condoms, both of which are not very popular.

Over the next three years, though, this scenario might change, with a new contraceptive method for men being developed. The process is fairly simple - if you do not swoon every time you see a syringe.

The reversible procedure, which is currently in its advanced clinical trials in India, will involve a medical practitioner injecting a polymer gel into a man's private parts. The gel will break apart the sperm and prevent fertilization. Though the method is still in its nascent stage, BT asked men in the city if they would opt for it, should the technology be made available here. Interestingly, most respondents thought it was a great idea, but were scared to try it themselves.

"The concept sounds painful, but is innovative. My first concern, though, is safety. Unlike traditional contraceptive methods like using a condom, which protects you from STDs and HIV, an injection can leave you susceptible to a host of diseases. The injection is a good contraceptive option for married couples," says Gul Md Akhbar, fitness expert.

A leading Kannada actor echoes Gul's sentiment that this form of contraception works best for a couple. "This sort of contraception will be easier on women. It is also a good option for couples who want to defer having children. It should work as long as all parties are comfortable with it," he says on condition of anonymity.

The fear of needles apart, there is also apprehension about whether the effect of the gel is reversible. "What if an injection to reverse the effects of the gel does not work? If sperm is broken apart by a pill instead of an injectable gel, I think more men would be willing to opt for contraception," says Zoheb Yusuf, model.

There are however, voices of dissent. "I would never opt for it because I am spooked by the idea of it all. I think condoms are the best - they are cheap, readily available and offer protection. So why go for an injection when there are easier options?" asks model Karan Medappa. Agrees model Carun Carumbiah, who also advocates greater self-control for men as a contraceptive method. "Condoms are effective and this form of contraception suffices for men. A man must exercise control and know when to stop," he says.

And while men continue to debate whether or not to take the jab, actor Sanjjanaa is all for having a man undergo the procedure. "It is a very good option. Why should only women have to use contraception? We already endure so much pain with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and childbirth. Men also need to contribute to the relationship and this could be their way of doing so. It is, after all, just an injection with temporary effects," she says.

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