Karaskiewicz, C. L., Ramirez, M., Bales, K. L. 2023. Physiological and behavioral effects of hormonal contraceptive treatment in captive, pair-bonded primates (Plecturocebus cupreus). JAALAS 62(6), 494–501.

Hormonal contraception is an effective, reversible tool for managing birth rates in humans and nonhuman animals alike. However, manipulating reproductive hormones has behavioral consequences that can impact social and sexual behavior between conspecifics. First, we studied 18 pairs of nonreproductive titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus) to test the efficacy of a novel method of hormonal contraception (deslorelin acetate implants) on reproductive hormone cycling in females and found significant reductions in urinary estrogens and progestagens among treated females compared to untreated controls. We then studied 35 nonreproductive pairs of coppery titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus) to ascertain whether treating females with one of 2 different forms of hormonal contraception (deslorelin acetate implants (n = 17) or medroxyprogesterone acetate injections (n = 9)) would influence the relationship between pair mates compared to the relationship between untreated females and their vasectomized male mates (n = 9). Over a 5-month period, we found no differences in affiliative behaviors between pairs containing untreated females compared to pairs in which the female was treated with either deslorelin acetate or medroxyprogesterone acetate. Similarly, we found no differences in affiliation between pairs in the 2 treatment groups. This study is the first to examine behavioral consequences of hormonal contraception in a pair-bonding species. The results are encouraging for captive, managed breeding colonies of such social animals, especially those used in behavioral research.