There is renewed interest in effective hormonal contraception for men. Even in areas where male methods are not commonly used, many men express a willingness to take more responsibility for contraception. This survey asked 1894 women who attended family planning clinics in Scotland, China, and South Africa about whether they and their partners would accept a hormonal contraceptive for men if available. The women, ranging in age from 16 to 50 years, were attending the clinics to obtain contraceptive advice and supplies. At all centers at least 65 percent of women expressed the belief that the burden of contraception falls too heavily on women. More than 90 percent of women in Scotland and South Africa and more than 70 percent of those in Hong Kong and Shanghai agreed that a “male pill” is a good idea. In all, only 13 percent of those questioned disagreed with this sentiment, and only 36 women, 2 percent of the total, said that they would not trust their partners to use the pill. Some women in China were more concerned about associated side effects and health risks. Very few women, even in South Africa, were concerned about the spread of sexually transmitted infections. At all sites except Hong Kong, at least one-third of women with partners said that they would use a male hormonal method immediately if available. More than 70 percent of women in Cape Town, Shanghai, and Edinburgh said that they would use this method at some time in the future.
Despite the widely held view that women would not welcome a male pill because they would not trust their partners to use it properly, this survey suggests that such a method would be very popular and that many women of diverse cultures would in fact be confident in the outcome. A male pill might encounter some resistance in the Far East, but it would seem to offer a practical contraceptive option in Africa.
Hum Reprod 2000;15:646–649