Male Contraceptive Initiative’s mission is, “to empower men, and couples, to fully contribute to family planning goals by providing them the resources they need for reproductive autonomy.” It is how we articulate our most hopeful vision of the future: one where there is reproductive autonomy for all people. This vision and associated mission directs our daily activities, which encompass financial support to the male contraception research community and advocating for the development of additional male contraceptives.
The drug development process is often presented as a linear process: you achieve one milestone before moving on to the next, with progress taking the developer ever forward. The Food and Drug Administration defines this process as such:
Based on the way that this information is conveyed, you might expect the process to visually represent something like this:
This guest blog post comes is written exclusively for Male Contraceptive Initiative by freelance journalist Raizel Joleigh.
The topic of contraception can be contentious. Women have a host of options when it comes to birth control, and these come with their own dialogue that deserves an avenue of its own. For men, though, the only methods currently available on the market are condoms or vasectomies – unreliable and costly to reverse, respectively.
This blog post is by Heather Vahdat, MCI Executive Director.
The National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a brief related to sexual activity and contraceptive use among young people between the ages of 15-19 in the United States. Given that young people are a key population for us at Male Contraceptive Initiative, I found the report to be interesting across the board; however, one key finding particularly caught my attention: “The condom remains the most commonly used contraceptive method among female teenagers”. In fact, 97% of female teenagers who have had sex reported ever having used a condom.
We spend a lot of time at Male Contraceptive Initiative thinking about how best to accelerate the research and development of novel methods of non-hormonal, reversible male contraception. It is, unfortunately, a field that simply does not receive enough attention or funding, so it is up to us to ensure that our investments have the greatest impact possible, both in the short-term and the long-term.
Gathering and sharing the perspectives of those working in the male contraception field and general public is a communications and advocacy imperative at Male Contraceptive Initiative. It is critical to our mission that we seed and share conversations around the need and demand for novel methods of male contraception in order to ensure there is grassroots support while the work takes place to move these potential products from mere ideas to market realities.
The recent news coming out of India is cause for excitement amongst those interested in male contraception. Dr. Sujoy Guha and the rest of the RISUG team reported completing clinical trials in humans on the subcontinent, paving the way for access to the long-acting male contraceptive in India. News reports are saying that RISUG is now just waiting on final approvals from the Indian government, and that production could begin in as little as 6-7 months.
The conversation around male contraception has been that it will be available “soon.” Multiple articles (such as this, this, and this) dating back to the early 2000s and further have claimed that a male pill is on the way. If the timeline that’s been promised is to be believed, we should all already be able to buy and use male contraceptives. Why can’t we?
MCI conducts surveys to help us understand the perceptions of potential male contraceptive users. Gathering these perspectives helps us as an organization understand what potential consumers are looking for, and how people think about male contraception.