The XX Factor

How About a Blast of Ultrasound to the Testes, Big Boy?

If they can just get men past the words “a blast of ultrasound to the testes,” researchers at the University of North Carolina may have finally hit on a method of birth control that’s most appealing to the people it’s meant to interest: men . That ultrasound blast is quick, painless and effective for up to six months, and would free both men who might actually have the opportunity to accidentally father a child and men who only hope things go that well from worrying about whether they’ve accidentally hit the bull’s eye. The ultrasound treatment also sounds great for couples in between kids or as a back-up plan.

What it wouldn’t do, of course, is prevent diseases or offer any real reassurance to the girl who’s willing to risk an STD but not pregnancy. But then, no form of birth control other than condoms offers full protection to both parties without taking anything on trust. If researchers can get ultrasound birth control out of clinical trials and approved for the masses, the big question will be the same old, same old ask. Women are willing to subject ourselves to various indignities and procedures in order to keep from bearing children; men, historically, have been somewhat less willing to shoulder the burden of not fathering them. Can even the simplest technology change that?