Hormonal Male Contraceptive to Enter Clinical Trial

The gel, which men rub on their upper bodies daily, delivers synthetic progestin to block the testes from producing normal levels of sperm.

By Jef Akst | December 21, 2017

ISTOCK, ERAXIONA team led by researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) plans to start a clinical trial of a male contraceptive gel next April, MIT Technology Review reports. The quick-drying, hormonal gel is rubbed on the upper arms and shoulders daily and can suppress sperm levels for about three days, according to the team. Specifically, a synthetic version of the hormone progestin, called nestorone, reduces testosterone levels to prevent normal sperm production, while a synthetic testosterone serves to maintain the body’s proper hormone balance without inducing the testes to make sperm.

“I am very confident that if men put the gel on every day and apply it correctly, it will be effective,” Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington and a principal investigator in the trial, tells Tech Review.

The trial will involve more than 400 couples around the world, including in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, Sweden, Chile, and Kenya. Men will be provided with the gel to use at home for at least four months while researchers monitor their sperm levels. Initially, their partners will be instructed to use their own contraception, but if the men’s sperm counts drop below one million per milliliter, the couples will be asked to use the gel as their only form of birth control for a year, Diana Blithe, program director for contraception development at NICHD, explains to Tech Review. “It’s not a lot of effort. It’s just remembering to use it every day.” 

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Avatar of: ds sheriff

ds sheriff

Posts: 5

December 22, 2017

It is a very practical non interventional contraceptive approach for men to follow for an initial period of four months to lower the sperm count <1 million/ml to prove its efficacy as a male contraceptive. It is a method males may not feel reluctant to adopt for condom use in certain traditional societies seen as a taboo. The surgical method of vasectomy still makes men hesitant to undergo. Therefore it would be good method of male contraception. It requires regular application. There is a doubt whether this method can be followed by all age groups including those recently married .

The method even though may be safe what will be its long term effects on the fertility status of the couple.  

December 22, 2017

Some time ago synthetic progestins were shown to impede womens endurance in cardiac stress testing. And now I read that synthetic estrogens in OC 'slightly' increase the rates of breast cancer. Why not see if mannose would do it. Experiments with mares where the semen was mixed with mannose to prevent the binding and infection of bacteria, like E coli with mannose lectins, prevented all pregnacies. It suggests that the acrosome of the sperm is also a mannose lectin. If so a few milligrams would be a safe and natural contraceptive. Too bad mannose can't be patented and profitable. If it were we would likely already have it.

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