The First Male Birth Control May Come In The Form Of A Messy Gel
Male birth control is still hot in the headlines and studies continue to, reportedly, put us closer to such a family planning alternative. Although a male birth control pill has been bouncing around laboratories since last year, a birth control gel looks like its currently in the running for first hormonal male contraceptive.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a gel containing testosterone and a synthetic progestin called Nestorone, “has the potential to become the first effective chemical birth control agent for males.” The contraceptive still apparently requires a ton more testing, but the numbers are looking good. Of the 99 men involved in the most recent study, one-third used a gel combining both a placebo and testosterone every day for six months. The other men used a gel with testosterone and one concentration of Nestorone. And sperm definitely started vanishing:
[Dr. Christine Wang] reported at a Houston meeting of the Endocrine Society that 88% to 89% of the men receiving the drug combination achieved a sperm concentration of less than 1 million sperm per milliliter, “a level that is compatible with very low pregnancy rates,” compared with only 23% of those receiving the placebo. A complete absence of sperm occurred in 78% and 69% of the men receiving the drugs (depending on dose), compared with 23% of those receiving placebo. Side effects were minimal, she said, and the drug combination “warrants further study as a male contraceptive.”
But as we already know from our own birth control evolution, messy gels are far from ideal for a variety of reasons. So how long until, say, the male IUD?