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The headlines spelled the end of a short-lived scientific hope: “Male birth control study nixed after men can’t handle side effects women face daily,” USA Today announced. “Men Back Out of Male Birth Control Study Because They Couldn’t Handle the ‘Changes in Mood,’” proclaimed People.

It was a high-profile — and highly embarrassing — end to a clinical trial that researchers hoped would usher in a new era of birth control. But the headlines obscured more complicated truths about the hard work of developing male contraceptives, and running clinical trials to assess their effectiveness. Years later, the field is still navigating the fallout.

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