HEALTH AND RESEARCH

New male contraceptive pill found 99% effective, no observable side effects

The pill was effective in preventing pregnancy

In Summary

•A persistent question about future male contraceptive pills has been whether women will trust men to use them and if men would make such kind of sacrifice.

•After the mice were taken off the drug, the mice were able to sire again.

Family planning pills.
Family planning pills.
Image: COURTESY

A team of scientists after conducting preliminary research in mice are closer to developing an oral non-hormonal form of birth control for men.

Right now, the birth control option for men includes abstinence, use of male condoms and vasectomy.

Vasectomies are expensive surgical procedures that can potentially be reversed but are generally considered a permanent form of male sterilisation since they are not always successful.

The research which was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society has detailed that in mice, the pill was effective in preventing pregnancy and it didn’t produce observable side effects.

In females, the side effects are common and vary from person to person.

Since it is a hormonal method of preventing pregnancy, many women risk blood clots, weight gain, acne, depression, disrupted menstruation cycles and increased cholesterol.

The effects can last for a very long time and are very uncomfortable.

A mouse feeding on grains in a wheat hold
A mouse feeding on grains in a wheat hold
Image: Courtesy: Dubbo Saeed KHAN: AFP

Findings in the study

"Multiple studies have showed that men are interested in sharing the responsibility of birth control with their partners," Md Abdullah Al Noman, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota told AFP.

The researchers administered the pill orally to male mice for four weeks and discovered, YCT529, the chemical in the pill drastically reduced sperm counts and was 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy in a mating trial.

After the mice were taken off the drug, the mice were able to sire again.

The team, which received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Male Contraceptive Initiative, is working with a company called YourChoice Therapeutics to start human trials by the third or fourth quarter of 2022.

"There is no guarantee that it will work...but I would really be surprised if we didn't see an effect in humans as well," Gunda George a researcher from the study said.

A persistent question about future male contraceptive pills has been whether women will trust men to use them and if men would make such kind of sacrifice.

Would you and your partner go for this?

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