How will the availability of new male contraceptive options impact the number of unintended pregnancies? Researchers recently created a model to answer that question in a paper published in Contraception. They focused the analysis on three countries (United States, South Africa and Nigeria) which differed by the type and rate of contraceptive use. By analyzing current patterns of contraceptive use, birth rates, and population sizes, then comparing with a model assuming a modest 10% uptake of new male contraceptives (a daily pill and a vas occlusive like Vasalgel), the authors were able to predict the impact on the overall unintended pregnancy rate.
The main findings indicate significant reductions in the unintended pregnancy rate with the availability of new male contraceptive options. In their model, the new male methods would reduce the unintended pregnancy rate in the U.S. by 3.5% (male pill) to 5.2% (vas occlusive method), resulting in 186,000-275,000 fewer unintended pregnancies. South Africa is expected to have a similar reduction, and even greater impact would occur in Nigeria due to the currently low use of contraception in that country.
“We coordinated this study to measure the real-world impact that a new male contraceptive would have,” Aaron Hamlin, executive director of the Male Contraception Initiative and co-author on the paper, said. “Under even the most conservative of assumptions, the results of this analysis evidence why it’s so important to bring new male contraceptives to market. We can prevent unplanned pregnancies by the hundred thousand each year in the U.S. alone.”