Gathering and sharing the perspectives and opinions about male contraception is a key mandate of MCI’s. Through this, we are able to present a collective voice in illustrating the interest in and demand for new methods of male contraception. By extension, this allows us to dispel some of the misconceptions about the field that persist. This includes investigating topics that do not garner as much attention as others, such as men’s attitudes and experiences with unintended pregnancy and the contraceptive needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
With this in mind, we also felt it important to share some of the perspectives MCI staff has on the topic. In this post, we share excerpts from a conversation with our Director of Programs & Operations Dr. Logan Nickels. He discusses his motivations for working at Male Contraceptive Initiative, as well as his thoughts on the potential impact new methods of male contraception can have on the world.
What do you think about male contraception?
It’s an opportunity. An opportunity for a global impact that helps people across the economic, health, and social spectrum. I also think it’s a challenge, both for those developing new male methods of contraception and the potential users of them. It’s a challenge to rise to the times and contribute towards something that can really, truly change the world.
What motivated you to work at MCI? What do you hope to accomplish at MCI?
Part of my motivation came from the science. Like, we’ve been 10 years away from a male contraceptive for 50 years. Why is that? And why can’t we overcome it? The challenge seems so close and achievable, and all of the factors that have prevented success to date seem like they’re getting less relevant, or we’re finding new ways around them. The other part of the motivation comes from just how important this work really is. Maybe it’s the fact that it seems a little taboo, or that it rebels against gender norms, but this is such a high-impact area with so few drivers. Even one voice like mine can add momentum to this space.
What are some things that you wish everyone knew about male contraception?
I wish they knew how important contraception is in general; how it leads to better outcomes and opportunities for men and women alike. And how male methods are this golden area of opportunity where even a single new method can bring new users into the fold, and change our dialogue about who is responsible for such an important decision in life. As for male contraceptives in particular, I wish that people knew the diversity of products that could come out of this research. On-demand contraceptives, or non-hormonal injectables, or products that offer decades of protection – they’re all on the table and can revolutionize how we think about birth control.
What impact do you think new male methods of contraception will have on the world?
It’s so hard to parse it down to a single impact. I think we’re looking at improvements across the spectrum for health, wellbeing, and so forth (just like what female contraception contributes), but I also think new male methods can result in improved relationships and communication between couples. These methods can give men a real vested interest in something that’s really important: the choice of if and when to have children. And that starts a conversation that I think pays dividends as time goes on.
We will continue sharing more perspectives from our team, our grantees, and members of the general public moving forward. Want to lend your voice to the conversation? Reach out to us and share your thoughts today!