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Male contraceptive injection

May 5th, 2009 (04:26 pm)
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This caught my eye because I remember petmoosie used to work on something like this: New male contraceptive injection appears effective. It's undergone the first round of human testing (in China, go fig).

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(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC)

Oh, you were looking for something non-hormonal? Yeah, that does sound harder.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 11:55 am (UTC)

I would love to see the reactions to this -- so many people think nothing of yanking around women's hormones, and it's a much more complex system than men's reproductive system.

Let's have men deal with the weight gain, loss of libido, and wild mood swings, not to mention the long-term risks of other disease.

I'm half in favor of vasectomies for any 13-year-old, reversible for free upon majority.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 11:59 am (UTC)
Hormones vs. vasectomies

so many people think nothing of yanking around women's hormones, and it's a much more complex system than men's reproductive system.

Unfortunately, that probably means that the male injection will have fewer side effects, and men will start saying, "What's the big deal?".

I'm half in favor of vasectomies for any 13-year-old, reversible for free upon majority.

Except sometimes something goes wrong and it can't be reversed.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Hormones vs. vasectomies

> can't be reversed.

I weep for them, says the woman whose system was permanently screwed up due to birth control pills.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 12:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Hormones vs. vasectomies

Well. Er.

Still, doing it to 13-year-olds seems fraught with problems; they're not old enough to consent to the risks.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 01:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Hormones vs. vasectomies

But they're old enough to father children.

The surgical risks are minor. Probably less than the risks for circumcision of infants, now that I think about it.

Edit: And there's this sexually-related medical messing around with pre-teens:
When should the cervical cancer vaccine be given?

The vaccine is recommended for girls ages 11 to 12, although it may be used in girls as young as age 9. This allows a girl's immune system to be activated before she's likely to encounter HPV.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cervical-cancer-vaccine/WO00120

Edited at 2009-05-07 01:11 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Hormones vs. vasectomies

The success rate for vasectomy reversal is surprisingly low: according to one vasectomy-related site, only about 64% lead to pregnancies ("not including couples where the woman was infertile"). And the longer the time since the vasectomy, the lower the chances a reversal will be successful. For 3-8 years (the timeframe you're suggesting), the success rate is 53%.

(Many people quote much higher success rates; but they appear to be defining success as "sperm is flowing", rather than "someone is pregnant".)

Of course, the success rate might be higher for younger men; but still. Anybody who does this to a 13-year-old is taking a huge risk. At a minimum, they should be required to store frozen sperm for artificial insemination in case the vasectomy can't be reversed.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Hormones vs. vasectomies

Why shouldn't "sperm is flowing" be the standard? Adding another very complex process (pregnancy) on top of that seems to be stacking the deck.

I'd have to look, but there may be types of vasectomies *designed* to be reversed eventually, which have a higher success rate.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Hormones vs. vasectomies

Why shouldn't "sperm is flowing" be the standard?

(a) Because the people who use that standard are the ones who are selling reversals.

(b) Because most couples do manage to get pregnant, when there are no detectable fertility problems; and someone who goes in for a vasectomy reversal is probably trying to get pregnant. So the number of reversal patients who can impregnate someone is probably not much higher than the number who actually do.

I'd have to look, but there may be types of vasectomies *designed* to be reversed eventually, which have a higher success rate.

I just looked, and there are. They work by clamping the vas deferens instead of cutting it. The tradeoff is that they're less effective as contraceptives; some sperm can leak through.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Hormones vs. vasectomies

Because the people who use that standard are the ones who are selling reversals.

Are they backed up by studies? If so, then selling the procedure isn't necessarily a disqualification for being correct.

I don't know the number of women who have fertility problems after contraceptives (I would expect the pill, depo-provera, and IUDs to have the most problems) but that should be compared to the problems with vasectomies.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
Unintended teen pregnancies (Devil's Advocate continues)

I'm willing to bet that at least 98% of teen pregnancies are unintentional, so I think this stat is useful -- although note that stats don't start at sexual maturity:

"2006 U.S. Census data: 435,000 of the nation's 4.3 million births were to women ages 15-19."

The rate is up a lot for 2008, but I couldn't quickly find an actual number of babies.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Hormones vs. vasectomies

Are they backed up by studies?

They're citing their own success rates.

If so, then selling the procedure isn't necessarily a disqualification for being correct.

I'm not saying their stats aren't correct; I'm saying they aren't useful. The important question is not how many men have sperm flow again; the important question is how many actually become fertile again. That means the pregnancy rate is more useful. Of course, it'd have to be compared to a more accurate baseline than my "most people do manage to get pregnant".

I don't know the number of women who have fertility problems after contraceptives [...] but that should be compared to the problems with vasectomies.

Yes and no. If a hetero couple wants to defer pregnancy, and they have to decide whether he or she should use the contraceptives, then, yes, that kind of comparison is important. If society decided to use compulsory contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies (á la Beta Colony), then, yes, we might want that kind of comparison to decide whether only one gender should be compelled. But, for an individual 13-year-old boy, and his parents, the important question is not "how much harder would this be if you were a girl?", but, "how risky is this for you?".

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Hormones vs. vasectomies

Society vs. family:

Right -- but I thought we were talking social policy all this time.

Posted by: Hey You (martianfencer)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)

I wonder if they're testing it on political prisoners. Keep those folks with dissident genes from having even their One Child.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: May 7th, 2009 11:28 am (UTC)
Didn't think of that.

Oof, didn't think of that. But it's a temporary effect, so it wouldn't work that well for them.

Besides, this is China we're talking about. They execute embezzlers. If they want you out of the gene pool, they're not going to mess around with hormones.

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