Dude, where’s my pill?

It’s essential to give men more reproductive responsibility.

Imagine: A man and woman tenderly embrace, and the man whispers, “Honey, did you take your birth control pill today?”

“Yes, sweetie,” she reassures softly. “Did you take yours?”

With the proper research and funding, this fantasy could be a future reality.

The 1960s revolutionized women’s reproductive rights with the introduction of the hormonal birth control pill. The pill and subsequent forms of hormonal birth control have greatly reduced the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Although empowering women’s fertility options, these advances have also left women to carry the heavy weight of reproductive responsibility, both financially and socially.

In an effort to give men more power over their reproductive systems, researchers at the University and around the world are developing hormonal pills and injections that would suppress sperm production in the same way the woman’s counterparts do. Although years away from FDA approval, the male “pill” would use testosterone to stop the body from producing sperm, while leaving normal amounts of unfertile semen in the system.

Providing men with effective birth control would put them in charge of their own fertility. By giving men a larger role in reproductive responsibility, the idea of “woman’s body, woman’s problem” could be history.

Currently, the choice between invasive, nonreversible penile surgery and condoms are not helping men own their fertility. With the pill or patch, a sexually active male would no longer have to rely on his female partner for pregnancy prevention.

Policymakers and pharmaceutical companies remain skeptical despite numerous studies that prove men are ready for birth control. It takes two to tango, and all great dances require effort from both people involved.