Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Jagged Little Pill
A remarkable new product is on its way that may make it possible to shift the burden of reproductive responsibility—gasp!— to men. Earlier this year, Dutch pharmaceutical giant Organon, along with Germany's Schering, announced that they expect their hormone-based contraceptive for men to hit the European market in as few as five years. Once that happens, it may only be another year or so before a U.S. debut. So, it will soon be possible for a man to avoid impregnating his partner by drastically lowering his sperm count. Unlike a vasectomy, the effect is temporary, completely reversible. And of course, the very notion is incredible: For over 30 years a "male pill" has been in various stages of development, but this is the first time serious drug money has backed it up.

As a woman, I can't help but ask: What took so long?
the author's points about social barriers are well-taken, but she underestimates the biological challenges of developing a male pill compared to how the hormonal deck was (comparatively) stacked in favor of the female version coming first. this is not to slight the development of the original gangsta; the history of the pill and its chief patrons is pretty fuck'n fascinating.

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