Practice and development of male contraception: European Academy of Andrology and American Society of Andrology guidelines

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Backgrounds: Despite a wide spectrum of contraceptive methods for women, the unintended pregnancy rate remains high (45% in the US), with 50% resulting in abortion. Currently, 20% of global contraceptive use is male-directed, with a wide variation among countries due to limited availability and lack of efficacy. Worldwide studies indicate that >50% of men would opt to use a reversible method, and 90% of women would rely on their partner to use a contraceptive. Additional reasons for novel male contraceptive methods to be available include the increased life expectancy, sharing the reproductive risks among partners, social issues, the lack of pharma industry involvement and the lack of opinion makers advocating for male contraception. Aim: The present guidelines aim to review the status regarding male contraception, the current state of the art to support the clinical practice, recommend minimal requirements for new male contraceptive development and provide and grade updated, evidence-based recommendations from the European Society of Andrology (EAA) and the American Society of Andrology (ASA). Methods: An expert panel of academicians appointed by the EAA and the ASA generated a consensus guideline according to the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system. Results: Sixty evidence-based and graded recommendations were produced on couple-centered communication, behaviors, barrier methods, semen analysis and contraceptive efficacy, physical agents, surgical methods, actions before initiating male contraception, hormonal methods, non-hormonal methods, vaccines, and social and ethical considerations. Conclusion: As gender roles transform and gender equity is established in relationships, the male contribution to family planning must be facilitated. Efficient and safe male-directed methods must be evaluated and introduced into clinical practice, preferably reversible, either hormonal or non-hormonal. From a future perspective, identifying new hormonal combinations, suitable testicular targets, and emerging vas occlusion methods will produce novel molecules and products for male contraception.