Want to avoid a baby mama without getting surgery or enduring condoms that are too small? Men may soon have the same choice as women when it comes to birth control.
A male contraceptive pill has been talked about for decades, but so far none has been successfully created despite strong demand. Recent surveys found that about 70 percent of men would be willing to take a birth control pill if it were available.
A new study says such a birth control pill for men, without side effects, may soon be ready. Working on mice, the team found that a compound called JQ1 acts as an inhibitor to sperm production and also sperm mobility.
"Both of these are needed for fertility, but JQ1 prevents both," said Qinglei Li, an assistant professor at Texas A&M College. "It stopped the sperm production very dramatically. More good news is that there appear to be no side effects whatsoever. Once the JQ1 was no longer given to the mice, they were back to their normal reproduction rates, and it did not affect mating behavior or the health of the offspring."
Though the mice were given injections, the team believes that a pill could eventually be developed for the same results. And one drawback to many female contraceptives is that they sometimes interfere with hormones, especially estrogen. But Li says the team is confident that JQ1 does not affect testosterone levels in men, and appears to have no other side effects as well.
The JQ1 compound seems to have come about by accident. It was originally used for anti-cancer treatments, but researchers found it was also an excellent compound in controlling fertility.
"This is an exciting step in male contraception," Li adds. "A compound with more specificity will be needed before clinical trials can be done for humans. It does not mean a male birth control just yet, but it is a great step forward in that direction."
The team was led by Martin Matzuk at Baylor College of Medicine and James Bradner at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who made the discovery. Published in Cell.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Prevent Alzheimer's Disease By Drinking Beer?
- Acceptance Of Evolution Is Far Higher Than Acceptance Of Other Biology
- 200 Years Of Maps, From William Smith's Survey To Satellites
- Where Did The Missing BP Oil Go? The Gulf Of Mexico Floor
- Fewer Wild Fish Needed: Genetically Modified Plants Produce Omega-3 Fish Oil
- 'Healthy' Fat Tissue Could Be Key To Reversing Type 2 Diabetes
- The ATLAS Top Production Asymmetry And One Thing I Do Not Like Of It
- "Thanks for clearing that up, Hank. I thought you were using the terms progressive, liberal, and..."
- "Right, I don't think our science audience sees those and regards them as Maxwell rather than Heaviside..."
- "You make a great point (well, I can't speak to the 'men do this much better than women' part) about..."
- "Republicans tend to embrace anything if it sounds like 'freedom' or 'morality' even if they would..."
- "Maxwell's anniversary brings to mind several other observations. The form of his 4 eqs. which appears..."