Men don’t really have many options of birth control, as they can only choose from using a condom or undergoing a vasectomy. For quite a long time, researchers came up with ideas for other contraceptive methods, but none has proven viable so far. However, the US government has some good news. Starting April 2018, researchers will start the official testing of a contraceptive gel which should stop sperm from being produced.
The contraceptive gel contains two hormones which control the sperm count
The plans of the researchers include performing a clinical trial for a period of four months. During these months, they have selected 400 couples from various countries and cultural backgrounds to test the contraceptive gel. It contains two hormones, a type of progestin and testosterone, and has undergone all sorts of tests for a period of 10 years.
The role of the two hormones is really important. Progestin curbs the testosterone production in the testicles, thus considerably reducing the quantity of sperm produced by them. However, this would affect the body’s ability to produce other hormones, and this is where the extra testosterone intervenes. For the contraceptive gel to start working, the participants have to apply it on their arms and shoulders every day.
The sperm count needs to get below one million per milliliter for a pregnancy to be avoided
The sperm levels stay low for about 72 hours after the contraceptive gel is applied. So, if the man skips one dose, there’s no danger of an unwanted pregnancy within than timespan. However, just to make sure, the female participants will also take some sort of contraception during the first months of the trial.
The researchers will closely monitor the sperm quantity produced by the participants. For a pregnancy to be avoided, the sperm count needs to reach less than a million per a milliliter. After that, the females can stop taking their birth control. If the results are positive, then it might take a few years until the contraceptive gel will become available for everyone.
Image Source: Max Pixel