Birth Control Pill For Men Is 99% Effective Preventing Pregnancy In Mice: Researchers Hope To Begin Human Trials This Year
The first oral birth control pill for men is expected to start human trials in the second half of this year. According to new research found at the University of Minnesota (UM), a new non-hormonal male birth control pill has been found to 99% effectively prevent pregnancy in mice, with zero obvious side effects.
Since the male birth control pill is non-hormonal, it can achieve the wanted results without stripping a man from their testosterone — like lower sex drive, weight gain or high cholesterol. Researchers at the University of Minnesota noted that mice were given a compound called YCT529, a form of non-hormonal male birth control. The mice were given the compound daily for four weeks, showing a significant drop in semen, making them sterile. When the treatments were stopped, after four to six weeks the mice were no longer sterile.
In 2022, there are far fewer options of contraceptives available to men and are limited to two options: condoms and vasectomy. Women are in turn left with the burden of protecting their bodies, whether that be from routine shots, a daily pill at the same time each day, or having an implant inserted into them. Dr. Abdullah Al Noman, a UM graduate student involved in the research project stated,
“Birth control is a critical health-care issue because about more than half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended pregnancies. And that can lead to very poor outcomes, whether in terms of the child’s health or maternal health and also financial and career advancement of women. We need to have more investment in the research and development of the male birth control pill.”
In 2019, the male birth control pill passed its first round of human safety tests, but a majority of these target the male sex hormone testosterone, which leads to side effects typically associated with the female pill such as weight gain and depression. Researchers have now targeted a protein called the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR-a), a form of vitamin A that plays a significant role in sperm formation.
Tests on mice showed that by inhibiting the RAR-a, sperm counts reduced in the mice and was 99% effective in preventing pregnancy without obvious side effects.
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