How does the law relate to reproductive health, especially male contraception? This is a question I found myself answering in many instances whenever I presented my topic to the lecturer for approval. For once, I thought this would be a unique experience; doing something that has been missing in my field of study and the feeling of being the first to explore the idea was overwhelming. Little did I know that I was getting myself into something that would shape my general perception and career projection.
A contraceptive injection is a long-acting hormonal method that prevents pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation. The injection contains a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, which is naturally produced in the body by the ovaries. In addition to preventing ovulation, contraceptive injections also trigger a thickening of cervical mucus that suppresses sperm’s ability to move through the uterus. If a sperm is unable to reach and fertilize an egg cell, then pregnancy cannot occur.
The birth control pill, more commonly known as “the Pill”, is a hormonal contraceptive tablet that is taken daily to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of birth control pills, combination pills, and progestin-only pills. Both forms of the pill contain hormones that regulate ovulation to prevent pregnancy.
This blog series highlights pertinent publications that were featured in MCI's monthly newsletter editions in the second quarter of 2022. The purpose of this blog is to report interesting or relevant work from MCI Fellows, Grantees, staff members, and other community authors in the field of male contraception.
Male Contraceptive Initiative’s Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe v. Wade
Male Contraceptive Initiative’s vision is “Reproductive Autonomy for All.”
We fund and advocate for the development of new non-hormonal, reversible contraceptives for men and sperm-producing individuals. We envision a world in which every child birth is intentional, and occurs only after careful consideration and in line with the family planning desires of those involved. Our work closes the gap in contraception that prevents men from taking an active role in avoiding a pregnancy, but most importantly, alleviates a disproportionate and undue burden for women.
Spermicide is a method of hormone-free contraception that works by preventing sperm cells from fertilizing an egg. Spermicides contain chemicals that damage sperm and prevent pregnancy by obstructing the entrance to the cervix. Once obstructed, sperm are unable to swim through the reproductive tract to reach the egg. Spermicides are on-demand methods that come in many different forms including creams, gels, films, and suppositories.
Shyann Stewart from North Carolina Central University shares reflections on what she learned during her internship with MCI in this blog post.
Unplanned pregnancies account for 45 percent of all pregnancies in the United States. In many of those cases, women were either taking ineffective birth control or not utilizing any birth control at all. Annually, approximately 700 women die in the United States as a result of pregnancy and childbirth complications, making it one of the highest rates in developed nations. Maternal mortality, like infant mortality and life expectancy, is seen as a key measure of a country's health and a bellwether indicator for assessing both human rights and public health.The purpose of this project is to create health promotion materials based on African American women’s perceived risk of maternal mortality, their contraceptive preferences and willingness to use male contraceptive methods.
The growth and development that people experience throughout their lifetime are accompanied by changes in their reproductive system. A person’s reproductive capacity differs between varying life stages. Ordinarily, sperm- and egg-producers become fertile and recognize themselves as reproductive beings during their adolescence or the years that follow puberty. As people continue to age and progress through their reproductive life cycle, natural age-related changes begin to affect everyone’s reproductive function.
MCI Youth Advisory Board member Meghana Reddy was accepted into the Emerging Leaders in Contraceptive Technology Innovation mentoring program, and shares her thoughts about the experience in this blog post.
Contraception is a field in healthcare that has been stigmatized for decades, even to this day. Although it is relevant to every individual’s life, it is something that is not widely talked about compared to other considered “mainstream” healthcare fields. To further raise awareness about the importance of contraception, new programs and innovations must be developed to highlight the opportunities that come from innovative research in family planning and reproduction.
LARC stands for “Long-acting reversible contraceptives”. These are methods of birth control that provide contraception over an extended period without the user having to do anything. They include injections, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and subdermal contraceptive implants, and are the most effective reversible methods of contraception largely due to the fact that their effectiveness is not reliant on patient compliance.
(Image courtesy of the New York Post)
An implant is a long-term contraceptive option that releases hormones to protect users from pregnancies. The birth control implant is a small rod, about the size of a matchstick, that is inserted into the upper arm by a healthcare provider. After insertion, the implant will release the hormone progestin to inhibit pregnancies.
Most people think that a person is either biologically female or biologically male despite their gender identity. This notion is outdated and incorrect. While there is a high prevalence of a biological binary, biological sex is not, in fact, binary. The intersex community is diverse and full of different sex characteristics (e.g., sex chromosomes, gonads, genitalia, hormones, or a combination). These characteristics don't fit into our social binary but exist naturally in biology.
This blog series highlights pertinent publications that were featured in MCI's monthly newsletter editions in the first quarter of 2022. The purpose of this blog is to report interesting or relevant work from MCI Fellows, Grantees, staff members, and other community authors in the field of male contraception.
According to Merriam-Webster, transfeminine people are whose gender identity is partially or fully feminine and differs from the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth; they are are people who were assigned male at birth (AMAB) but identify more with a feminine identity.
Shyann Stewart, our most recent intern from North Carolina Central University, sat down with us to discuss her motivation in joining the team and her interest in male contraception. This blog post shares highlights from that conversation.
What's your academic background?
I am a senior at North Carolina Central University, where I am studying Public Health Education. I wish to graduate from this program with expanded understanding of public health measures and the skills to apply the most effective health promotion initiatives.
Our most recent MCI Youth Advisory Board member Meghana Reddy sat down with us to discuss her motivation in joining the board and her interest in male contraception. This blog post shares highlights from that conversation.
In 2021, I decided that I wanted to start my own company focused on providing non-hormonal contraceptive options for women. Before starting my business, I created my own research protocol, and was able to interview over 50 individuals about the perspectives of contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STI)s, and the stigma surrounding sexual health. Because of the responses I received, I reached out to plenty of contraceptive pioneers, and was able to connect with Heather Vahdat, the Executive Director of Male Contraceptive Initiative (MCI). Through Heather, I was exposed to MCI's Youth Advisory Board (YAB), and decided it was the right fit for my interests and previous experiences. When I was conducting my personal research, I did not meet a lot of individuals that had an immense interest in contraception, until I met the individuals in the YAB. After joining the YAB in February 2021, I was able to learn more about new male birth control methods.
MCI's Youth Advisory Board member Molly Ring shares frustrations with existing contraceptive methods and her motivation for joining the board in this blog post.
I joined MCI's Youth Advisory Board (YAB) because, like so many others, I found myself in a stable relationship and looking to find a more reliable method of contraception than condoms. From speaking to friends who had experience with taking hormonal oral contraceptives, I felt very apprehensive about side-effects, unsatisfied with the range of non-hormonal options and above all frustrated that the burden of preventing an unwanted pregnancy rested with me simply because I was born with a uterus – as if the prospect of pregnancy and childbirth alone is not enough to contend with.
The critical work developing the next generation of non-hormonal, reversible male (or sperm-targeting) contraception is ongoing, and it is likely to be years before the first of these methods is available. Despite this, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about and optimistic for the future. These new methods will be transformational in ensuring reproductive autonomy for all, addressing significant challenges like unintended pregnancies, and helping meet the lofty sustainability goals necessary to improve the health of the planet and all its inhabitants.
There is no contraceptive “silver bullet” - no one method that everyone will see as the be-all-end-all of methods.
Imagine this - there’s an injectable contraceptive that lasts for a few months, but it requires seeing a provider, in their office, to administer the drug when it’s time. Or, alternatively, there’s a new daily pill, and it has almost no side effects, but it requires strict adherence to be efficacious, and missing a dose by even a few hours can be problematic. Or instead, imagine an option that works for years on end and is very effective, but requires a provider to make a small surgical incision in the scrotum during an administration procedure, and users would be sore for a few days afterwards.
A persona is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. They are incredibly useful tools in user-centered design, marketing, and other disciplines focusing on customers or “users”, and they are particularly useful during ideation activities for new products and services as they allow for the extrapolation of user preferences to inform attributes, thereby removing some of the ambiguity inherent in new product design.
In 2021, MCI's Youth Advisory Board (YAB) was able to release an undergraduate research opportunity in an effort to engage young scholars in the field of male contraception. The opportunity was made available with support from the Parsemus Foundation and contributions from Male Contraceptive Initiative.
What potential male contraceptives are out there, and when will they be available?
These are two of the most frequent questions we hear and are asked. While it is difficult to pinpoint an exact date and time that the next generation of male contraceptives will be on the market, we wanted to at least attempt to provide some clarity on the great work being done to bring new methods of sperm-targeting contraception to market. As such, we have developed a dedicated space on our website to catalogue the various non-hormonal, reversible male contraceptives being researched.
The bladder, or urinary bladder, is a hollow muscular organ that stores urine from the kidneys before it is disposed of through urination. Urine enters the bladder via the ureters and exits via the urethra. The typical human bladder will hold between 10 and 16 fluid ounces before the urge to urinate occurs, but can hold considerably more. It is situated at the base of the pelvis in humans.
The rectum is the final straight portion of the large intestine in humans and some other mammals. The adult human rectum is about 4.7 inches (12 centimetres) long, and begins at the rectosigmoid junction, which is located at the end of the sigmoid colon.
The anus is the opening at the end of the digestive tract where stool (or feces) leaves the body. This is not to be confused with the rectum, which is the section of the digestive tract above the anus where stool is held before it passes out of the body. In humans, the anus is the external opening of the rectum, located inside the intergluteal cleft, known colloquially as the butt crack, and separated from the genitals by the perineum. Its primary purpose is to control the exit of feces from the body during defecation.