Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Scientists May Have Invented First Male Birth Control Pill

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Because this year was the 50th anniversary of the female birth control pill's approval by the FDA, there was much discussion in the past few months about just why there hasn't been a male contraceptive pill. Some Israeli scientists, though, may have fixed that conundrum: they discovered a pill that works on mice by stripping sperm of the protein needed to fertilize an egg, essentially rendering the mice sterile for between one and three months.

The researchers plan to start human trials of the pill next year, and if the trials go smoothly, the pill could be available to the public in as little as three years. Needless to say, this is an amazing breakthrough, especially since the pill would only need to be taken every month or so. One of the major concerns, especially for women, is that men would forget to take the pill (although, as I pointed out in my post a few months ago, most studies show that fewer women have this fear than the media would have us believe), but with this medication, the researchers argue that men would be more likely to remember.

The researchers also reported that there seemed to be no negative side effects among the mice, which is another bonus - potential impotence was another feared result of a male contraceptive pill (although no one seems to care particularly that female birth control can also dampen women's sex drives). For men, there would be no hormonal side effects.

So it looks like we can begin to get excited about the potential for this new innovation, although I wouldn't uncork the champagne yet. There's a running joke that the male birth control pill has been five to ten years away for the past fifty years, and until the pill is out of trials and on the shelves, I'm still not going to hold my breath.


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