Trial for male contraceptive starts at KNH

Couples in monogamous relationships invited to take part and must intend to stay together during the study lifetime

In Summary

• Process involves suppression of sperms to the level where they can't fertilise an egg. 

• Male partner to apply gel on right shoulder for 20 weeks to reduce sperm count.  

Kenyatta National Hospital KNH
Kenyatta National Hospital KNH

Couples in stable monogamous relationships have been invited to take part in the gel male contraceptive trial at Kenyatta National Hospital.

The study, which may shift the family planning burden to the man, is a collaboration between Washington University and KNH. It will run for two years.

Most common male birth control methods are condoms, vasectomy and natural means including withdrawal during sex.

The outcome of the trial will be known in 2022.

In the study, the male partner is subjected to clinical lab work involving investigation on their sperm count, their health and suitability to take part. This runs for 4-8 weeks. 

The second phase involves sperm suppression, in which the man applies the gel on his right shoulder daily for 20 weeks. Applying the gel continually is expected to reduce the sperm level to the point in which they won't be able to impregnate a woman.

All the while, the female partner will be required to continue using the normal contraceptive the couple is exposed to. 

The third phase is the efficacy stage where the woman is required to stop using any contraception and rely solely on the man's contraception. The man does not apply the gel at this stage.

In the second year, the man is put in a monitoring arrangement that restores his sperm level to the initial level as before he took the first gel smear. 

To be eligible, the couple must intend to remain in the relationship for at least two years, the lifetime of the study. 

The male partner must be in the age range of 18-50 years while the female age ranges from 14 to 34. She must not be pregnant or breastfeeding. 

The couple must be living in Nairobi and its satellite towns. 

(Edited by R.Wamochie)

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