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What are male contraceptives?

Last updated on: February 13, 2018 11:18 IST

Here's everything you need to know about male contraceptives and its effectiveness.

What are male contraceptives?

Family planning and contraception are two concepts that go hand-in-hand.

They form a simple equation that applies to both men and women. A smart contraception equals good family planning.

While women have many options of contraception, men may not be so lucky.

So if you are thinking of becoming a daddy soon, then you must weigh in all the options and make an informed decision.

Here's a rundown of all that you need to know about the effective male contraceptives.

What are male contraceptives?

A male contraceptive ideally abstains the sperm from coming in direct contact with a female egg.

The purpose, of course, is to avoid unplanned pregnancy to safeguard from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Types of male contraceptives

There are four approaches that are currently available to men in India.

However, you must know that only two out of the four are the most popular.

Male Condom

Condoms are a plastic cover or sheath that is worn over the penis during intercourse.

They are by far the most popular and widely used forms of male contraceptives. They are easy to use and very much accessible across the market.

When used properly, condoms provide protection against both- pregnancies and STDs.

You must use condoms while having sex with a new partner, multiple sexual partners or if you are unsure of your partner’s sexual history.

Effectiveness: Condoms can be 75 to 90 per cent effective depending on their correct use.

However, experts recommend that you check the date of manufacturing and use before you buy the pack.

A pack of condoms would also usually mention the percentage of protection.

Disadvantage: Condoms are not recommended for people who are allergic to latex. You can use polyurethane condoms as an alternative.

Spermicide

Spermicides are chemicals that are used to kill sperms.

They come in the form of a cream, jelly, vaginal foam or aerosol.

Although it is counted as a male contraceptive, it is the woman who uses a spermicide.

Spermicides need to be placed in the vaginal area before intercourse to be effective.

Studies show that if women use it regularly, 15 out 100 will become pregnant.

Effectiveness: Spermicides are about 70 per cent effective if used on their own. However, they could be about 95 per cent effective if used with a condom.

Disadvantage: This chemical is not widely available in India and needs an expert consultation.

Coitus Interruptus or Withdrawal

This natural form of contraceptive involves a man withdrawing his penis from the vagina before ejaculating.

This method frequently fails because small drops of sperm may escape from the penis into the vagina before the man ejaculates. This method also leads to impairment of sexual climax.

Effectiveness: Withdrawal is less than 80 per cent effective.

Disadvantage: This method is not very effective to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

Male sterilisation (vasectomy)

Vasectomy is a surgical procedure that stops sperms from passing through testicles in the form of sperm. This procedure ensures safe male ejaculation without the presence of sperms.

Vasectomy is generally a simple procedure that can be carried out under local anesthesia. This method is called incision.

A cut is made on both sides of the scrotum to reach the tubes. These tubes are then tied or blocked using surgical clips.

In another method, called non-incision, the tubes are punctured, tied or blocked. There is no scarring or stitches in this procedure.

Remember that vasectomy does not affect a man’s fertility potential since sperms continue to be produced.

The only difference post this procedure is that sperms get absorbed into the natural system.

Therefore, vasectomy has no effect on the libido or the ability to have sexual intercourse. It takes roughly 15 minutes to perform.

Effectiveness: Vasectomy is the most effective male contraceptives of all the the forms and is over 99 per cent effective.

Disadvantage: This method of contraception is, however, permanent and only suitable for those who do not want to have children in the future.

Although there is a chance of reversal, the procedure is complicated and rarely successful.

In a study by the United Nations, female sterilisation constitutes over two-third of total sterilisation in the country. While male sterilisation constitutes just one per cent. 

Lead image -- a still from Playgard condom ad -- used for representational purposes only. 

Deepshika Punj