Can you imagine a world where men are as responsible for birth control as we are? Well, it looks like it’s finally possible. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s Contraceptive Development Program last week presented encouraging results of a male contraceptive gel.

The product has testosterone and a synthetic hormone called Nestorone that reduces sperm production. As reported by NBC News, it is the most advanced among the new contraceptive options for men.

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A promising product

Since the beginning of time, reproductive responsibility has rested exclusively with women. We are the ones responsible for getting — or not — pregnant. We are the ones who fill our bodies with hormones, who have to keep track of the days, and who ultimately have to make the hard decisions.

However, a new male contraceptive gel could change the rules of the game. It is a gel similar to hand sanitizer, which men should rub on their shoulders every morning.

The trial involved 222 men between the ages of 18 and 50. According to Diana Blithe, head of the NIH’s Contraceptive Development Program, initial results showed that the contraceptive worked faster than expected.

As NBC News continued, after 12 weeks of daily gel application, 86% of the trial participants achieved sperm suppression. This means that they only had up to 1 million sperm per milliliter of semen, the amount the researchers considered effective for contraception. On average, the time frame for effective contraception was eight weeks.

Male birth control is a fair and timely solution

Amid the wave of abortion restrictions in the United States, a solution that falls on the shoulders of men comes just in time.

Since the first trial of a male contraceptive failed during the 1950s, science has all but abandoned research. This is partly due to the scientific and commercial success of the female pill in 1960. Until then, men were responsible for using the condom. But from the 1960s onwards, the onus fell on women, along with the side effects.

Hypertension, mood swings, vaginal bleeding, and even strokes are some of the side effects of the pill. Some doctors, in fact, have argued that if the first female pill of 1960 were introduced today, it would never get government approval. The side effects were that harsh.

Now, with a male contraceptive around the corner, the next battle is to convince men to use it

Little research into a male contraceptive has focused on lowering testosterone in men. However, this leads to acne, weight gain, and mood changes (sound familiar?) — not to mention impotence, which, well, defeats the purpose of a contraceptive.

And if a product is sure to fail before it is even tried, it is one that jeopardizes men’s masculinity.

Also, the researchers claim that there hasn’t been enough funding or financial investment. After all, if women already bear all the burden, why change the rules, right?

“We’ve been pushing for hormonal male contraceptives for 50 years, but there isn’t enough money available to really drive something through a very large phase 3 trial,” said Daniel Johnston, chief of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Contraception Research Branch.

However, the new gel works as sperm suppression. That is, men continue to produce sperm without affecting their sex drive or causing other side effects.

And honestly? It was about damn time.