HILLSBORO, Ore. – Oregon Health and Science University, in conjunction with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine, is one step closer to paving the way to creating birth control pills for men.
Right now, condoms and vasectomy are the only safe forms of birth control currently available for men.
However, this groundbreaking study, done using primates at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, shows that a drug can slow sperm motility, which means, the sperm can’t reach the egg.
Researchers say there's no hormones involved, so there's no loss of libido, and little if any side effects.
After 18 days, the sperm return to normal, and fully functional once again, meaning the birth control is reversible.
“We’re not the only people working in this area and I think the world is ready for a male contraceptive,” said Dr. Mary Zelinski. “There hopefully will be more options for men as we move forward, just as we have many options for women.”
She says human trials are still at least a few years away. First, researchers have to create a pill form of the drug, and see if that prevents pregnancy in monkeys. Dr. Zelinski says first, slowing sperm mobility and proving that it can work in primates, is a big step in the right directions towards birth control pills for men.
“It’s exciting from the standpoint that you don’t always know if your ideas are going to work in a body,” said Dr. Zelinski. “To take it to an animal model that is closely related to humans, and to have it succeed in the first step is very exciting.”