Monday, July 11, 2022
Nevertheless, researchers recently announced that male birth control trials with mice were wildly successful—99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
The new pill, created by a team at the University of Minnesota, blocks proteins from binding to vitamin A, which is crucial to fertility and virility in mammals. In addition to the drug being virtually able to block all pregnancies, the researchers said the pill has no apparent side effects. The findings were shared in March at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.***
The sexism behind birth control is blatant. Why do women bear most of the burden of preventing pregnancy? Researchers have traditionally paid much more attention to birth control for women than men, male birth control researchers acknowledge—from pills to patches to intrauterine devices. Seeing men expand birth control options—including taking more responsibility—is essential, especially now.
When male mice were given the drug orally for just four weeks, researchers found they had such a steep drop in sperm count that they became sterile. Yet, when the team stopped dosing the animals, the drug’s effects reversed: The mice bounced back to normal virility in four to six weeks.***
Because this contraceptive is non-hormonal, it’s likely to have fewer side effects, researchers say. Earlier attempts at male birth control pills largely worked by blocking testosterone, which can lead to depression, weight gain and decreased libido. Even when scientists super-dosed the mice with the new drug, the rodents seemed to do just fine, Noman noted.***
As noted, the side effects of weight gain, depression and increased levels of LDL made testosterone not a good choice. “Since men do not have to suffer the consequences of pregnancy, the threshold for side effects from birth control pills is rather low. This is a big barrier to developing a male contraceptive. That’s why we are trying to develop non-hormonal birth control pills to avoid hormonal side effects,” Noman said.