There are many choices when it comes to contraception and birth control, possibly more than you are even aware of. Birth control and pregnancy prevention is not a new idea. People have been using contraception since ancient times. In fact there is record of birth control being used in ancient Egypt and many mid-wives throughout time knew herbal treatments that could not only end an unwanted pregnancy, but prevent one from happening.We have come a long way since those ancient methods of birth control. In fact many believe that the invention of the pill to be one of the greatest inventions of mankind. This is because birth control pills gave women power of their bodies; allowing them to have choice on whether they have a baby or not.Barrier methods tend to be the preferred version for the majority of people. Barrier methods prevent sperm from getting through the female reproductive tract to fertilize the egg. The most popular of all barrier methods are the use of male condoms. Condoms go over the penis which will hold sperm in. There are also female condoms, which work just like the male condom, but go inside a woman’s vagina. Other barrier methods are cervical barriers. These block the opening to the cervix not allowing any sperm to get through. Cervical barriers are things like the vaginal sponge and diaphragm. All of these have to be inserted into the vagina.Beyond barrier methods there are also many hormonal methods. All of these methods are for women only. They required the ingestion of hormones to shut off the body’s reproductive system. The body will not release eggs while on birth control hormonal methods. These are taken either in pill form, in injection, in a skin patch, or a vaginal ring.There are also intrauterine systems used for contraception. These pieces are places within the uterus and are most often “T” shaped. IUD’s contain copper and occasionally will also release hormones to help prevent pregnancy. This form of birth control has to be inserted by a medical professional. The device stops implantation and the copper works as a spermicidal.The above are all medically proven methods of birth control contraception. There are many other methods that are not medically proven and do not work as consistently as some of the medical methods. One of these is called fertility awareness. This is when a woman tracks her cycle and abstains from sex when she is in her egg phase of the month. There is also a method called coitus interrupts, but this method is highly ineffective. It works by the man pulling out before he releases his semen.Emergency contraception is also available when regular methods of birth control fail. These have to be given by a medical professional. They will often prevent a fertilized egg from implanting or they can terminate a pregnancy. These can be taken in pill form, but occasionally surgical intervention is required.
Conventionally, the birth control methods for the males included condoms and vasectomies. However, recently, birth control shots for male contraception have been designed. This is because the procedure of vasectomy is not accurate completely. It is not totally foolproof. There are higher chances of being infertile for the rest of the life for a man. Therefore, the pharmaceutical companies are looking forward to developing pills or hormonal inhibitors which appear as more lucrative options for male birth control methods.The male contraceptive injectionsOne of the most recent concepts introduced in the United States is that of the male contraceptive injections. The idea was visualised by an Indian scientist. It consists of an injection which reduces the sperm count and disables the spermatozoa which traverses through the sperm pathways. Actually, the injections comprise of a number of chemicals which formulate gels against the sperms. The life of this gel is between 10 to 15 years. Thus, once injected, the injection solution remains viable for a long time. So far, the results have been 100% effective.For over a decade now, this male pregnancy shot is on trial in India. Now, the project has been kick started in the United States as well. Initially, the sperm stunting potential of the injection was considered as a toxic side-effect but when experimented by laboratories, the idea appears lucrative enough.Why is it not popular with pharmaceuticals?The injection does not have any potential financial benefits. This is because the solution remains viable for a long time interval thereby eliminating the need for any other contraceptive methods such as condoms.However, similar to the other contraceptive options, these injections also do not offer any protection against STDs. These are ideal for couples who do not want a baby in the near future.There are other methods which are still under development.These comprise the following:· Implanting minute plugs known as Intra Vas Devices, IVD which block the sperms. This method of sperm control is similar to vasectomy only there is no operation. Instead of cutting the vas deferens, the tube is plugged. This stops the sperm flow. However, research is still going on whether men will be able to impregnate their partners once the plugs are removed.· Application of heat to testes which induces infertility.· Using ultrasound waves to bar the sperm production.But these methods still raise the question of how long will the procedures last questioning the economic viability of the methods.