St. Paul, MN— Planned Parenthood North Central States (PPNCS) is launching a two-year study into the contraception interests and preferences of people who produce sperm, along with their partners, thanks to a grant from the Male Contraceptive Initiative (MCI). Information on how people perceive expected new advances in contrasperm, or male contraception, technologies is critical to the success of the emerging new birth control methods.
PPNCS launched its research division in 2015 to expand information and understanding of reproductive health care. Research projects rooted in equity are imperative to improving health inequities and for driving health care innovation.
“People of all genders deserve the opportunity to control their sexual and reproductive health, and we’re all aware that the responsibility of preventing unwanted pregnancies tends to fall heavily on the people who can get pregnant,” said PPNCS Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sarah Traxler. “For decades, researchers have been working to develop contraceptive technologies focused on sperm, but many individuals still believe that people won’t use these new products. Now, our research team is going to tackle that assumption head-on and build a study that asks individuals about their attitudes and preferences around emerging contrasperm methods.”
Current contraceptive methods for people who produce sperm include condoms, vasectomies, and the withdrawal method. Researchers across the globe have been developing other contraception options, including hormonal and non-hormonal methods targeted at sperm, and it is expected that these products will hit the market over the next 10 years.
“More and more men are expressing the desire to do their part to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancies. We are confident that the time is right to emphatically get behind the talent and energy in the field to achieve a real vision for a shared contraceptive future,” said MCI Executive Director Heather Vahdat.
The two-year study will include surveys to explore interest and acceptability of future contrasperm options, and more in-depth interviews about underlying personal and social values and norms. The study will focus both on potential users of contrasperm methods and their sexual partners.
“My biggest take-away from every conversation that I’ve had about this issue is that there is overwhelming interest and demand for new contrasperm technologies,” said lead PPNCS Principal Investigator Alison Ojanen-Goldsmith, MPH, MSW. “Our study is a strong step forward in understanding what it will take to realize the extraordinary potential for these new technologies and make more inclusive family planning methods a practical reality.”
Research topics that will be explored include the target audiences’ perceived benefits and concerns about the new contrasperm technologies. Ultimately, study sponsors hope the research findings will increase awareness about contrasperm methods and inform the development of successful medical and public health outreach messages.
“This is about gender equity and reproductive justice in sexual and reproductive healthcare, and about access to contraceptive products that will help people exercise bodily autonomy and fully participate in family planning,” PPNCS Co-Principal Investigator Asha Hassan, MPH added. “Our study will help guide the development of contraception options that work for many different people.”
Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 30 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota). Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 45,000 people in our region.