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Americans probably need to be better about birth control. Think about it: Half of all pregnancies are unplanned (raises hand); almost all sex is enjoyable (raises two hands); and yet the burden of birth control remains triangularly on our vaginas. Why should I have to fake my body into think it's "sort of pregnant" just to have safe sex? Or get a hormone shot that renders me sterile for four years? Or have my cervix subtly scraped by an IUD? Sure, men have condoms, but who amongst us can say they enjoy condoms? (no hands). Parenthood is a shared responsibility, so let penises pull their weight.
Well, some scientists out there must be thinking the same thing because there are studies researching birth control options based on the male anatomy happening right now.
In India, there's a male shot called reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG) in the clinical trial phase. RUSIG involves injecting a substance into the vans deferens (the tube that pushes sperm up to the urethra), which kills sperm on its way, um, out. (That's reversible with another injection.) For RISUG to get a shot at FDA approval, the same trials have to be reproduced here in the U.S. So for now, ball-injections remain a pipe dream.
Closer to home, researchers at the University of North Carolina think that zapping the family jewels with ultrasonic waves is the answer. Utilizing a $100,000 grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, lead researcher Dr. James Tsuruta and his associates have determined that two 15-minute blasts of noninvasive ultrasound to the testicles, administered two days apart, significantly lowers sperm count to sub-virile levels, according to the BBC. Okay, so they used saline-soaked male rats, but, y'know, baby steps.
Walk with me, won't you? To the Drug Store of the Future, aisle 11. Here, you can select a home pregnancy test, home ovulation kit, your preferred texture of condom, flavored lube, and... What's this? An at-home testicle-zap kit? "A little blast'll do ya," according to the box. One fine day, you might be able to turn to your partner in bed and say, "I love you, but I'm not ready for kids yet," and he'll be able to say, "I zapped my balls yesterday, no worries."
Obviously, bucket loads more testes testing has to be done before scrotum-zapping could become a birth-control reality. (Imagine rounding up those test subjects?) But since ultrasound is used routinely for a variety of non-invasive medical treatments and therapy -- from rehab to facelifts to fetal heart monitors -- why not birth control? Of course, they'd have to determine the right dosage and frequency, and ensure that there's an antidote and no long-term side effects. Still, a fertile girl can dream, can't she?