Written by Penelope Farthing
News broke recently that a male birth control option that would last thirteen years might be available soon. It would be “administered via a small needle a single preloaded syringe shot into the tubes carrying sperm from the testicle to the penis, under local anesthesia.” Researchers are still looking into the reversibility of this hot new innovation, but animal studies suggest that with the use of a second injection that dissolves the gel, fathering children can happen later down the line. As of right now, though, it is being presented as an improvement on another, more permanent option, a vasectomy, due to no surgical incision, and less trauma.
If this contraceptive technique turns out to be effective, and reversible, how might this affect black women? Even though it is a birth control option for men, I still wanted to discuss possible implications for women, because, after all, it takes two to make a baby.
Most black women deal exclusively with black men. Therefore, in order for this to have the biggest community value add, black men would have to be signing up with fair frequency. With the out of wedlock rate being as high as it is, perhaps if black men were given an additional option to prevent unwanted pregnancy, things might start to turn around. Black women have dropped the ball on this front, granting genetic immortality to undeserving males. Since black women get lambasted with “not letting men lead”, I would wager that a large cadre of black men being so empowered to do their part to prevent unwanted pregnancies would certainly show leadership capabilities. A 13-year baby prevention campaign on the part of black men would really show they are thinking long-term, which is a positive leadership trait.
I have two main reasons I want this male birth control to be widely adopted in the black community. The first: far too many black children are brought into the world by parents who neither planned for them, nor have the means to support them properly when they arrive. “Hoping for the best” and “Doing the best you can” is not a good strategy to employ when it comes to something as life-changing and permanent as parenthood. Development in the first few years of life is a crucial time and, done right (or wrong), it can have literal life-altering impacts on the baby. By using available methods of birth control to delay children until the time is right, it could set your bloodline up for success.
In addition to the high out-of-wedlock rate, black women also have to contend with other stressors while pregnant or a new mom. Such issues include domestic violence rates higher than all other races of women, the highest likelihood to be killed while pregnant, and high maternal and infant mortality rates. By delaying motherhood to a time that would be more ideal, with a partner who is of a similar view and willing to take action on it, all those negative statistics would start to turn around in due time.
Another reason I hope this catches on, is because personally, I’m tired of the same old child support song-and-dance. Arguments around that pesky monthly payment abound in black circles on social media. It seems like every other week another post by a black guy is shared or even goes viral, lamenting the woes of having to financially support the child he helped sire to a woman he didn’t marry. The opposite, a black woman complaining about the lack of support from her ain’t-s#!t baby daddy, is also a common occurrence. With both parties using reliable birth control methods the right way, every time, there would be less complaints about child support, because measures were taken to prevent making a child that needed supporting in the first place.
One important consideration in this 13-year birth control option is that it grants no protection from sexually transmitted infections. Even though this long-term contraceptive would stand to revolutionize birthing practices in the black community, it would behoove both parties to still use barrier methods of contraception to prevent getting up with a different life-long responsibility, like herpes.
The state of black parenting in the community is definitely not as good as it could be. Between breeding for volume rather than pedigree, to beating the living daylights out of a child for all to see, the process of righting the ship could need something as dramatic as a needle to the balls to start the repairs. Not one, not two, but three forms of reliable birth control (IUD/pills/patch etc. for women, and the injection + condom combo for the men) could mean that black parents-to-be have time to realize the weight associated with bringing a baby into the world, and making preparations to provide the best opportunities possible.
I really hope that this 13-year contraception method turns out to be both safe and effective for any interested parties. Hopefully the research yields positive results and is indeed reversible in human subjects. Plus, with all the migraines and nausea and almighty mood swings women contend with as a result of our birth control, a tiny little one-time injection to the man-bits doesn’t seem so bad.
What are your thoughts on this new birth control option? Do you think it’ll catch on in the community? Why or why not? Leave your comments below.
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Penelope, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.