New Men’s Birth Control Could Offer Safe Contraceptive Without Side Effects

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New Men’s Birth Control Could Offer Safe Contraceptive Without Side Effects

New Men’s Birth Control Could Offer Safe Contraceptive Without Side Effects

Contraceptives have largely enabled social liberalism, allowing relaxed marriage laws and norms, as couples could live and sleep together without having to care for a baby. However, while condoms plays a part in this, it is birth control that has been responsible for enabling social freedom for both men and women to easily move in and out of relationships, with fewer risks and fewer children. Unfortunately, with no real birth control options for men, this choice, and the responsibility of not having children, has mostly been left up to women.

As anyone who’s ever spent more than 5 minutes learning about biology should know, it takes two to tango, and while men are an essential element of procreation, they’re left largely helpless in the face of choice. Current men’s options for birth control include wearing condoms (only 98% effective when worn and fitted correctly), and near-permanent surgical options like vasectomy.

And, while there are multiple birth control projects in the works, many of them require shots (like female Depo provera), nasal sprays, or plugs (like female IUD) which are designed to inhibit sperm fertility or growth.

Now, a team of researchers at Wolverhampton University in the UK have discovered a way to make a male birth control pill effective. The pill wears off in a few days, has minimal side effects, and can be consumed as late as a few minutes before sex.

How Does it Work?

The male birth control pill in the works at Wolverhampton University uses peptides to directly inhibit the movement of male sperm. This effectively cancels out their ability to ‘swim’ up the fallopian tubes and into the uterus, preventing pregnancy.

The process began based off of studies of male infertility, which is typically the result of poorly moving sperm. This process known as low motility is caused by a protein in the sperm. Realizing that influencing this protein would cause infertility in men who didn’t want children, Professor John Howl teamed up with IVF experts at Aveiro University in Portugal (who first identified the protein responsible for motility) to create a contraceptive.

Together, the two teams worked on creating a peptide ( a string of amino acids) which move to the sperm and negate the movement of the ‘tail’.

Is it Safe?

Unlike most other forms of birth control, this male birth control pill would actually wear off in a few days. Because the amino acids only affect one part of the body (the sperm) rather than attempting to prevent sperm production (like hormonal contraceptives), it’s also much safer and has fewer side effects than any other option being studied.

In fact, with the ability to kick in within a few minutes of taking the pill, this male birth control pill could be one of the safest and best contraceptives on the market.

Is It Effective?

Unfortunately, the pill isn’t in human testing yet. Wolverhampton University is moving forward with animal testing to judge the efficacy of the method. In fact, the team has a £175,000 grant from the Aveiro University in Portugal which they will use to move their research forward.

In fact, the team doesn’t actually know if they intend to bring their birth control to the market as a pill. They could still choose to create it as a nasal spray, or as an implant to control sperm fertility for months or years at a time. However, no matter what they choose, a non-hormonal contraceptive for men would allow men to control their own fertility with fewer side effects than any of the contraceptives currently on offer to women.

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Proliferate writer, sesquipedalian, techie, Apple fangirl (don't judge),tree hugger, yogi, tea drinker, zombie hunter. Into philotherianism & philomathy. Love my job. Visit me on Google +

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