Update on Male Hormonal Contraception: Is the Vasectomy in Jeopardy?

GJ Manetti and SC Honig


Int J Impot Res. 2010;22(3):159-170. 

In This Article

Hormonal Treatment

The concept of male hormonal manipulation for contraception predated the era of female hormonal contraception by 20 years. In 1939, two investigators independently tested testosterone for suppression of spermatogenesis.[33,34] Since then, female birth control pills have dominated the contraceptive market. It has been difficult to equal or improve on the safety, efficacy and reversibility of female birth control pills, as the bar has been set quite high. The failure rate of 1/2000 with vasectomy has set the bar very high as well.[1]

In 2007, the 10th summit group published their updated recommendations for regulatory approval for hormonal male contraception. This international group was designed to review the status of clinical development projects for male hormonal contraception.[35] Although much has been published regarding the safety and efficacy of different methods of hormone-based male contraception, there has been no clear consensus as to how to measure successful suppression of spermatogenesis, inclusion criteria for studies, reversibility of treatment, length of study to determine safety and power of study necessary to prove efficacy. Table 2 lists the recommendations and guidelines for male contraceptive options. The ideal hormone-based male contraceptive would be safe, affordable, 100% effective, reversible, with no short- or long-term side effects. Such a drug does not exist now.

There have been several review articles published in the past few years on male contraception.[8,36–43] The purpose of this review was to summarize the published data regarding hormone-based male contraceptive treatment options.


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