Whilst women have always been responsible for taking oral contraceptives, with trials going well, a range of male products could soon be available.
Scientists working on the new male contraceptives say gels, daily pills, and injections could be the future .
The gel, segesterone acetate, brand name Nestorone, is one of the most promising of those that are currently being developed. It’s a synthetic progestin-type female sex hormone, which is used in the US in the female contraceptive pill.
So how does it work? The male rubs it on his shoulders and upper arms each day, and it releases into the bloodstream over the following 24 hours, working by switching off sperm production in the testes.
Over the past year, the gel has been tested out by teams of researchers at Edinburgh University and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
Speaking about the study, Richard Anderson, a professor of clinical reproductive science leading the Edinburgh research, told the Daily Mail: “We now have five couples who have completed a year of using the contraceptive gel without any untoward incidents.
“All is going well with the trial, though it will be a good three years before it is completed.”
Dr Christina Wang, an investigator at The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation, is leading the trail of the gel in the US.
She says the pill, gel, and monthly injection are the most promising options being studied.
She said: “People like the idea of the daily pill because it’s easy, but only between one and three percent of the drugs are absorbed when taking a pill. By contrast, the gel is absorbed by about 10 percent, while the percentage for the injection is almost 100 percent.
“I believe the gel will be approved for sale first, followed by the injection. Trial evidence shows the gel is safe, well-tolerated and suppresses sperm output to very low levels in more than 90 percent of volunteers.”
According to reports, the hopes for any kinds of injections or pills rest on an experimental male drug called dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU).
Similarly to the gel, it combines the male testosterone-like hormone and a female progestin.
Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine at Washington University, is working on the preliminary stages of clinical trials of DMAU as both a daily pill and an injection.
She said: “Our phase one study is showing promising results. One hundred men have received injections of various amounts of DMAU. Thus far, the injections are exceedingly well-tolerated.”
Work is also underway on a reversible vasectomy, which could prevent pregnancies for up to 13 years.
The technique, which involves disabling the sperm ducts by injecting into them a plastic called styrene maleic anhydride, has been trialled over 300 men by researchers at the Indian Council of Medical Research, with a reported success rate of 97.3 percent.
Would YOU take the male contraceptive? And, ladies, how would you feel having the weight taken off your shoulders? Let us know by leaving a comment below!