Scientists make progress in developing non-hormonal male contraceptive pill

Scientists have discovered a cell pathway, or switch, that can prevent sperm from swimming, potentially leading to the development of an on-demand male contraceptive pill. 

Human sperm
COURTEsy of pixabay

In tests on mice, a drug called TDI-11861 was found to keep sperm immobilized for at least a few hours, long enough to prevent fertilization. Further tests in rabbits and humans are needed before the pill can be made available for use.

How does the pill work?

Unlike female contraceptive pills, the male pill being developed does not contain hormones. Instead, it targets a cellular signalling protein called soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) that controls sperm movement. By inhibiting or blocking sAC, the experimental drug can stop sperm from swimming. This approach is advantageous because it does not cause side effects such as male hormone deficiency.

What are the benefits?

If the drug proves effective in human trials, men could take the pill only when they need to, giving them more control over their fertility. However, experts warn that the pill does not provide protection against sexually transmitted infections, so the use of condoms would still be necessary.

What do experts say?

Professor Allan Pacey, a professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, calls the development a "novel idea" and an exciting step toward an effective, reversible, oral contraceptive for men. The drug appears to work quickly and can be reversed easily, making it a promising option for male birth control. Other researchers are also exploring different approaches to halting sperm swimming, such as blocking a protein on the surface of sperm.

In conclusion, the development of a non-hormonal male contraceptive pill could be a significant breakthrough in reproductive health. While further testing is needed, the promising results from the initial studies in mice suggest that the pill could provide an effective and convenient method of birth control for men in the future.

Post a Comment