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.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Dec 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...

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