Would you trust men to take a 'male pill'? That's the question posed to 380 people in North East England by a team from Teesside University which questioned people about the male contraceptive pill currently undergoing trials.
The research led by Judith Eberhardt, from the University's Social Futures Institute, involved interviews with 140 men and 240 women and cast doubt on whether Northern men can be trusted to take it.
The findings showed that while men said they would welcome it, women thought their partners could not be trusted to take the contraceptive pill regularly, leading to unplanned pregnancy.
"There's been some work into the male pill, mainly in the US and Australia," said Eberhardt. "But nothing it seems has been done in the North East, which is perceived to be a male-dominated society.
"Men in the North don't go to the doctors very often and we wanted to see if that approach to health care would influence their attitudes to the male pill. Past research has shown a link between health awareness and attitudes towards the male pill.
"There were three findings to our research. Firstly, both men and women had a positive attitude towards the male pill and thought it was a good idea.
"Secondly, women were more positive than men, but women didn't trust men to remember to take the pill every day. This means that pharmaceutical companies need to look at developing options such as a monthly injection or an implant that could last three years.
"And finally, men in a stable sexual relationship had a better opinion of the male pill than men in casual sexual relationships."
Writing in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, Eberhardt said, "Once the male pill is widely available, promotional campaigns could target not only men but also their female partners, as women tend to come into contact with health services more frequently."
- Eberhardt, Judith; van Wersch, Anna; Meikle, Neil. Attitudes towards the male contraceptive pill in men and women in casual and stable sexual relationships. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, 2009; 35 (3): 161 DOI: 10.1783/147118909788707986
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