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King's College London - Health: More than a medical matter

Male contraceptive lotion in early tests

02 July 2012

By Antony Blackburn-Starza

Appeared in BioNews 663

Researchers in the USA claim to have created a male contraceptive gel applied directly to the skin that can effectively reduce a man's sperm count with few side effects.

The gel, which is still in its developmental stages, contains a mixture of the hormone testosterone and a new synthetic progesterone-like compound, or progestin, called Nestorone. Results of a preliminary trial showed that 89 percent of men who used the gel obtained a sperm concentration of less than one million sperm per millilitre, described by the researchers as 'a level that is compatible with very low pregnancy rates', with minimal side effects..

Dr Christina Wang of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, California, who led the study, says the treatment 'warrants further study as a male contraceptive'.

'Up until now, the responsibility for contraception has traditionally always been with the female', said Dr Wang. 'With these new contraceptive methods for males, the responsibility will be shared'. The team hopes to develop a safe, effective and reversible hormonal male contraceptive.

Previous male contraceptive treatments containing testosterone and progestin needed to be administered through pills, injections or implants and were also associated with side effects, including acne and changes in cholesterol levels, says the Los Angeles Times.

The effectiveness of the male contraceptive gel may, however, be lower when compared with female contraceptives, such as the birth control pill that is over 99 percent effective, and condoms, which are 98 percent effective.

The study is as yet unpublished and was presented at the Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas.



09 December 2013 - by Dr Katie Howe 
A reversible way of stopping sperm cells being ejaculated has been identified in mice. The research could pave the way for the development of a male contraceptive pill... [Read More]
20 August 2012 - by Daryl Ramai 
Scientists may now be one step closer to producing the first non-hormonal, male contraceptive pill after a successful animal study... [Read More]

28 May 2012 - by Dr Rosie Morley 
A non-hormonal male contraceptive pill could be developed by blocking a newly identified gene involved in the final stages of sperm production, according to scientists... [Read More]
17 May 2010 - by Dr Jay Stone 
Research into using ultrasound as a male contraceptive was given a financial boost last week after researchers secured a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation... [Read More]
07 December 2009 - by Heidi Colleran 
A team of scientists has taken male fertility research a major step forward, with the discovery of how androgenic hormones regulate the production of sperm in the testes of mice. The breakthrough, reported in the journal The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), may lead to greater understanding and control of male fertility, including the development of a male contraceptive 'pill', and treatments for infertility.... [Read More]
27 July 2009 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
Scientists have discovered a genetic mutation that could path the way for the development of new infertility treatments and also a male contraceptive pill. The mutation affects a protein called PLC zeta found in sperm which is responsible for activating an egg in the early stages of fertilisation. The study revealed that in cases where this protein was deactivated the sperm was not able to fertilise the egg.... [Read More]
06 April 2009 - by Adam Fletcher 
Researchers from the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences in Tehran, Iran, have stumbled upon two heritable mutations that lead to infertility in men. The finding, published last week in the American Journal of Human Genetics, has opened up a promising avenue of research for the... [Read More]

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