We're one step closer to finally having male birth control on the market, thanks to a promising new study that found one short-term prototype to be super successful in immobilizing sperm — in mice, at least.
Published on Valentine's Day, a new paper in the journal Nature Communications details how a new drug, which would be taken just before sex acts and act as a medicinal prophylactic of sorts, was literally 100 percent effective in lab studies on mice.
Conducted by pharmacology experts at the Weill Cornell Medicine Center in New York, this study — which, it should be noted, has not yet been conducted on humans — offers an appealing alternative to longer-lasting contraception methods such as vasectomies or a potential medication or injection that would, like hormonal birth control, work around the clock to prevent pregnancy.
The experimental medication in question is a short-term version of what's known as a soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) inhibitor, which essentially makes sperm stop swimming. While there have been studies about sAC inhibitors being used "via intravaginal devices in women" this paper focuses on an oral medication to be taken by men that would only slow their swimmers for a short amount of time.
"We show a single dose of a safe, acutely-acting sAC inhibitor with long residence time renders male mice temporarily infertile," the paper reads. "Mice exhibit normal mating behavior, and full fertility returns the next day."
As the study notes, that short-term infertility window is crucial to the pill's effectiveness. Within a time span of about 2.5 hours, the sAC inhibitor was 100 percent effective in the lab mice that were given the drug, and was still 91 percent effective at the 3.5 hour mark.
The study and the school's press release both point out that thus far, male contraception research has stalled because, well, men are kind of wimpy.
"Because men don't bear the risks associated with carrying a pregnancy," the press release muses, "the field assumes men will have a low tolerance for potential contraceptive side effects."
Shots fired aside, this promising proof of concept study could be, as the school boasts, a "game-changer" in the quest for male birth control that would both pass FDA muster and actually appeal to men.
Nothing beats condoms, of course, but given that a growing number of uterus-havers are literally getting their tubes tied to avoid pregnancy, taking a short-acting pill is the least sperm-havers could do.
More on sexual health: Scientists Create Drug That Makes Patients Super Horny
Share This Article