With the state of women’s reproductive health in the air, there are a lot of questions about what men can do to help. The idea of vasectomies has been thrown out there, but those looking to engage in that procedure should do diligent research and consult with medical professionals or their partner. Real life is not The Office. The best form of contraception would of course be a pill for males, which has been desired for ages. It looks like a major scientific breakthrough has been made and in the near future, a contraceptive pill for men might hit the market.
Weill Cornell Medicine scientists have developed a drug that temporarily stops sperm from getting their Phelps on and prevents pregnancies in mice. The study, fittingly published in Nature Communications on Feb. 14, was called a “game-changer" by co-senior authors Dr. Jochen Buck and Dr. Lonny Levin.
The drug targets soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC), which is basically the thing that tells sperm to swim. If it is rendered inactive then the sperm will not move forward. In trials with mice, one dose of a sAC inhibitor called TDI-11861 stopped sperm for up to two and a half hours and the effects persisted inside the female reproductive tract after mating. After three hours, some sperm regained motility and after 24 hours, almost all sperm began to move at their normal pace. According to Dr. Melanie Balbach, a postdoctoral associate in the Weill Cornell Medicine lab, the inhibitor only needs 30 minutes to kick in. Dr. Balbach says other experimental male contraceptives can take weeks to reduce sperm count or “render them unable to fertilize eggs."
The next step is to repeat the experiment under a different preclinical trial and then eventually start trials on humans. Then hopefully, one day men everywhere can get their own pill at CVS.
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