You already know what “The Pill” looks like, but what about “The Male Pill?”
When we hear “The Pill,” a single image likely comes to mind:the round, plastic, clamshell disc that holds female hormonal contraceptives. It’s a ubiquitous symbol of independence, empowerment, and reproductive autonomy. The imagery of “The Pill” is so deeply rooted that it’s difficult to imagine any other type of contraceptive, especially one designed for the other half of the population – “The Male Pill”.
Daily oral contraceptives for women are designed to interrupt her natural cycle, which requires daily dosing. “The Pill” is usually a combination of an estrogen and a progestogen, which together eliminate ovulation and prevent pregnancy. There are clinical hormonal trials for men in the works, testing gels, shots, and even a daily pill, similar to female contraceptive methods. However, these methods all rely on hormones to halt sperm production, and may be associated with side effects similar to those of existing female contraceptive methods.
So what would “The Male Pill” look like?
We don’t yet know – That’s the beauty of it. Contraceptives can be whatever you want them to be, for both men and women. Human-centered design (HCD) is one way of creating new solutions to existing problems. HCD is a philosophy where users imagine a final product, then allow the science to work towards that goal. This prevents putting something on the market that may not be acceptable to users. HCD events focusing on female contraception have come up with “moonshots” for what the perfect female contraceptive would look like.
So what do you want from “The Male Pill?” Do you want something that acts on demand, only when you need it? Or would you rather have something long acting, that can go for 5, 10, or 20 years without maintenance? How about a non-hormonal solution that doesn’t come with the same baggage as the past? These things don’t have to be daily pills, where you’re beholden to a rigorous schedule, and a single missed dose means the risk of pregnancy. The sky is the limit, and we’d love to hear what you think “The Male Pill” could be. Reach out and share your thoughts with us today!
It’s time that we broadened how we think about contraception.
“The Male Pill” needs a new identity. One that is distinct, and conveys that a single form of contraception won’t meet the needs of all users. Women change contraceptive methods multiple times over their lives, and we know that a single form of male contraception won’t be perfect for everyone - men or women.
“The Male Pill” can take many forms, and this is the time for everyone to dream big. Research is in the early stage, and can be modified to fit design criteria that you come up with. What would your ideal version of “The Male Pill” be?
To learn more about the male reproductive system, please read these additional posts:
For simplified explanations of terminology related to male contraception, please visit our Glossary or check out our Podcast and Videos and Webinars for all your information needs!