Researchers have developed a world-first male contraceptive gel.
It’s a joint venture by the Population Council, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
The researchers developed the idea more than 10 years ago and created the new birth control gel for men. Now it’s ready for trial.
The gel is a combination of Nestorone (segesterone acetate) and testosterone. It works by rubbing the gel into men’s shoulders daily, which then absorbs into the skin.
The gel blocks natural testosterone production in the testes, reducing sperm production to low or nonexistent levels.
‘The potential of this new gel is huge,’ said William Bremner, professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine. ‘There is a misperception that men are not interested in, or are even afraid of, tools to control their own fertility.’
He then added: ‘We know that’s not the case.’
Interested in trying it out?
Researchers are currently looking for 400 opposite-sex couples to take part in the trial.
During the trial, men apply the male contraceptive gel once every day.
Then once the sperm count reaches an appropriate level to prevent pregnancy – an 8-16 week process – the couple will start to use the gel for a year.
During this time, researchers will check their sperm count regularly to help minimize the possibility of pregnancy.
The trial is initially launching in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Kansas. It will later include trials in Chile, England, Italy, Kenya, Scotland, and Sweden.
Christina Wang is the lead researcher from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.
She said: ‘The success of a reversible contraceptive for men requires an approach that reduces the production of sperm without impacting a man’s testosterone levels or ability to produce sperm at a later date.
‘The challenge is achieving the right combination of Nestorone and testosterone at the right time,’ she added.
Results should come out in 2022.
Interested? Find out more information here.