Scientists have come up with another male contraceptive, but it requires injecting a gel into your abdomen.
No male contraceptive has truly taken off due to side effects, but researchers think they have finally created one which is long-lasting and non-permanent.
A recent report showed a growing number of men are ditching condoms and relying on women using contraception.
Contraline, a biotech company based in Virginia, is developing ADAM — the world’s first injectable male contraceptive gel which it describes as ‘like the IUD, for men’.
Rather than hormones to halt sperm production, the contraceptive involves a gel which is injected into the tubes that carry sperm through a small incision in the abdomen.
The gel, which is not yet available to the public, will then block sperm from travelling to the testicles.
After around two years, the gel dissolves, and men can opt to have the procedure done again.
The contraceptive involves a gel injected into the man’s sperm-carrying tubes, which then blocks sperm from travelling to the testicles
Recovery from the procedure is similar to that for a vasectomy.
Twenty-four hours of rest are needed, and men will have to avoid sex, sports and heavy lifting for a week, or they will be at risk of pain or bleeding inside in the scrotum.
It is currently being tested in a clinical trial at Epworth Freemasons hospital in East Melbourne, Australia.
Four men have received the contraceptive, and are being monitored for side effects.
If the trial is successful, a larger trial will be held in the US next year, with the procedure becoming available by 2025 or 2026.
Professor Nathan Lawrentschuk, a urologist from Epworth Freemasons and the study’s principal investigator, said the contraceptive could be a ‘game-changer’.
He said: ‘The three-year study will investigate whether the hydrogel is successful as a non-permanent, long lasting male contraceptive.
‘If it is successful, it could be a game-changer, ensuring that contraception is a shared responsibility between couples.’
In March, experts claimed to have developed a tablet that’s 99 per cent effective at blocking pregnancies, putting it on par with the actual female version.
Tests on mice showed the non-hormonal drug, labelled YCT529, did not trigger any visible side effects.
And the rodents were able to father pups again four to six weeks after they stopped taking the contraceptive, according to the team.
University of Minnesota researchers planned human trials of the drug — which inhibits a protein to stop the formation of sperm — later this year.
Other candidates exist, including ones that have been trialled on men in Britain over the past few years.
But Professor Gunda Georg, who led the study, said YCT529 is ‘the furthest ahead of all contraceptive agents for men’.
Scientists have been trying since the 1950s to develop an effective male oral contraceptive, including pills, gels and injections.
None have been approved, and even the most promising options are still thought to be years away from being widely available.
A major hurdle is that the female contraceptive works by preventing ovulation, which happens once a month.
Any male contraceptives would need to interrupt the production of millions of sperm made by men every day.
Most of the drugs undergoing clinical trials target testosterone, blocking the male sex hormone from producing healthy sperm cells.
Doctors say, however, that the testosterone-blocking action can trigger weight gain, depression and increase cholesterol.
For comparison, the female combined contraceptive pill — which contains synthetic versions of female hormones estrogen and progesterin — has been linked with similar mental health side effects.
WHAT ARE THE CURRENT METHODS OF CONTRACEPTION AVAILABLE TO MEN?
There have been few changes in male contraception compared with the range of options available to women.
Although there’s ongoing research into a male contraceptive pill, there is not one available yet.
At the moment, the 2 contraceptive methods available to men are:
- Condoms – a barrier form of contraception that stops sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg
- Vasectomy – a minor, usually permanent, surgical procedure that stops sperm from reaching the semen ejaculated from the penis
The withdrawal method of taking your penis out of your partner’s vagina before ejaculating is not a method of contraception.
This is because sperm can be released before ejaculation and cause pregnancy.