Birth control pill for men could be coming after big breakthrough

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Being on the pill could soon be an option for men after a big breakthrough in scientific development!

Men could have a shot taking birth control pills in the near future.
Men could have a shot taking birth control pills in the near future.  © IMAGO / Panthermedia

According to Gizmodo, researchers at the University of Minnesota have successfully tested a male contraceptive on mice, and plan on human trials later this year.

The non-hormonal pill kept 99% of its test mice sterile for between a month and a month and a half. It uses a chemical compound that keeps a protein from bonding with vitamin A, which prevents it from forming retinoic acid, which is a key ingredient in sperm production.

The research team drew inspiration from previous research on how diets low in vitamin A could cause sterility. But their method specifically aims for a result that isn't permanent and comes with virtually no health risks.

Lead researcher Abdullah Al Noman, a postgrad medicinal chemistry student at UNM, said: "Since men do not have to suffer the consequences of pregnancy, the threshold for side effects from birth control pills is rather low."

"That’s why we’re trying to develop non-hormonal birth control pills to avoid hormonal side effects," he added.

If the ambitious development and testing timeline moves forward as the researchers hope, the pill could be on the market in five years.

Many men and women would welcome another contraceptive option, according to a meta-analysis of 32 different studies, where between 34% and 82% of men would be willing to test male birth control, and 42% to 94% of women would welcome it if their partner tried out male birth control.

If male contraception were as easy as taking a pill once a month, with no side effects, that would be a massive shift in how men can step up to the birth control plate.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Panthermedia

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