Human Fertility and Population Problems: Proceedings of the Seminar Sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

By Roy O. Greep; American Ethnological Society et al. | Go to book overview

THE INHIBITORY ASPECTS ON GONADS OF THE MALE

WARREN O. NELSON

Formerly Medical Director, The Population Council, Inc., Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.

ALTHOUGH THE MAJOR SHARE of research in the limitation of fertility has thus far been directed towards the female, I think it is evident that for adequate and complete attention to birth control, all possibilities of voluntary application as such must also include methods applicable to the male. Indeed, at the present time there are various procedures whereby fertility control in the male can be achieved. Prevention of sperm entry into the female tract can be achieved by ligation of the vas deferens, by coitus interruptus or by interposing some mechanical barrier, such as the condom. These, of course, are methods that have had acceptance and are used to varying extents among the people of various cultures, but I think you will all admit that these are crude procedures. As our comprehension of the physiologic mechanisms relating to male reproduction has evolved, it has become evident that methods for the control of fertility in the male, based on physiologic principles, are quite feasible.

There are several points in the male reproductive process that are quite vulnerable to interference. For example the physiologic maturation of sperm that is undergone in the epididymis is a possible method. We know virtually nothing of the fundamental mechanisms of this process. Moreover the phenomenon known

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