Re: MED/SOCIETY:'100% success' for male pill trial

From: Scott Badger (w_scott_badger@yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 13:07:46 MDT


Terry Donaghe <Terry@Donaghe.com> wrote:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_836000/836436.stm
>
> "Edinburgh University scientists say the first
> clinical trials of a male contraceptive pill
> suggest it is 100% effective, with no harmful
> consequences. "
>

I recall the last semester of my undergraduate career
taking a required course in endocrinology (circa
1978). Near the end of the course the professor
briefly mentioned some (then) current research on the
"Male Pill". The chemical name of the compound being
investigated was 5-Thio-D-Glucose, if memory serves.
The prelims looked real good. It was a non-steroid,
there were no side effects observed in monkeys, and
full fertility was regained in a matter of days after
quitting with no observed withdrawal effects. Hell,
it was basically a sugar pill with some sulfur on the
number 5 spot on the Glucose ring. I forget how it
worked, though. Considering how much more complex and
sensitive the female system is compared to males, I
was fascinated and called the man doing the research
(some University in Illinois). He informed me that he
saw great potential but his grant had not been renewed
and he hoped that someone else would pick up the ball
and run with it. I almost went into graduate school to
become an endocrinologist so that I could run with
that ball. But after discussing the idea of a male
pill with lots of different women, I discovered that
the (then) prevalent attitude was that it didn't
matter if there was a male pill because men could not
really be trusted to take it. I heard things like,
"Well, if I was living with the guy and I actually saw
him take it then I guess it would be OK, but if I'm
just dating some guy, I'm not going to take the chance
of getting pregnant on his say-so that he took the
pill. I'd have to take my own precautions to be on
the safe side anyway." The article says only 2%
wouldn't trust their partner to take the new pill.

I have to assume that there was ultimately something
wrong with this compound or someone would have done
more with it. Or maybe it would have been so easy to
manufacture that there wouldn't have been any profit
in it. I don't know. Concerns expressed at that time
were mostly about psychological effects on the male
libido. Oh no!!! Not a reduced libido!!! Impotence
anxiety is probably why the grant wasn't renewed.

>From the above article:

> Over 32 years have passed since [the Pope]
> predicted if this, what he called contraceptive
> morality, took hold there will be a whole number
> of unfortunate consequences - like people having
> a more relaxed attitude to abortion and marriage,
> increased divorce and a larger number of unplanned
> pregnancies."

One concern that a friend of mine expressed is that
those men least likely to take the male pill are the
ignorant, the stupid, and the lazy while those most
likely to take the pill are on the other end of the
spectrum. Not particularly good news for the gene
pool. This friend of mine also suggested that men
will now have even more of a propinquity to engage in
meaningless sexual encounters and women's psyches will
continue to harbor resentment toward themselves, men,
and society in general because of this behavior.

Sometimes it seems like this notion that recreational
sex is a bad thing is primarily propagated by those
women who continue to perceive the need for a
long-term commitment from a man before they can feel
comfortable in a relationship and this appears to be a
carryover from the days when women depended heavily
upon men's resources for their well-being and the
well-being of their children. My hope is that the male
pill will indeed take us a step closer toward a more
relaxed attitude toward our sexuality, but not a more
relaxed attitude toward the responsibilities of
marriage and/or family. We really need to get past the
paradigm where women sort men by the size of their
wallets and men sort women by their potential for
sexual gratification. I have to admit though, these
hopes are probably unrealistic on my part.

What are some of the other Male Pill issues being
debated?

Scott

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