Male contraceptive pill possible in 10 years
A new male contraceptive pill could hit the market in 10 years, according to research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While many approaches for a male pill have failed due to long-term effects on male fertility, this one is based on stopping sperm transportation during ejaculation.
Previous attempts have focused on hormonal or germ-line strategies, which produce dysfunctional sperm that are unable to fertilize. But those approaches can cause side effects that affect male sexual activity or cause long-term irreversible effects on fertility. The new research instead focused on the autonomic nervous system, which affects sexual arousal.
For the study, researchers looked at mice and found that the absence of two proteins on the smooth muscle cells that prompt sperm transportation after ejaculation could achieve complete male infertility. In essence, the sperm is there, but the muscles don't receive the chemical message to move it along outside the body. Blocking the two proteins seemed to have no long-term effects on sexual behavior or function of the male mice.
Researchers say the next step is developing an oral pill for men that is effective, safe and readily reversible.