Development efforts of oral contraceptives for men rooted as far back as in 1970s. Researchers in the field announced then that male contraceptives were not far away. But, the research efforts didn’t materialize into successful “male pill” then. However, today’s researchers are optimistic about the successful development of “male pills” within years to come.
Researchers have successfully tested a new method to make male mice temporarily infertile. Diana Blithe, director of this contraceptive development program, has termed the new method as “among the most promising” in the field of contraceptive development.
The technique, developed by scientists at US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, temporarily impairs sperm production by blocking a protein called BRDT. This method doesn’t mingle with the hormones, unlike current hormone-based male contraception techniques which are reported to change male features of users.
The team, headed by Martin Matzuk, has successfully tested the method on male mice. Now, the team is working on making a male pill based on the findings.
However, some people are skeptic about finding a male pill ready for use by humans in near future. One such person is reproductive biologist Mark Gill who works in Novartis Research Foundation owned Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland. He explains, “They’ve found a nice system for studying spermatogenesis, but it would be a stretch to say that there’s a human application in the near future.”
Whether the new method will ultimately be realized in a successful product or not can’t be pressed for sure, right now. If it does, then the product might be in high demand; as pointed out by endocrinologist William Bremner, “I’m convinced men want this.”
You can read the research findings at Cell.