Australian and British scientists are one step closer to developing a safe and effective form of male contraception. Researchers have identified two types of proteins that can be blocked to prevent the entry of sperm cells from the testes from the moment of ejaculation.
Scientists disabled the proteins in genetically engineered mice that resulted in infertile males while they continue to mate normally. Australian and British researchers said the suppression of proteins can be achieved theoretically in human males using drugs. Medication for high blood pressure and prostate enlargement currently in the market actually blocks one of the proteins.
Researchers believe that the concept is a feasible method of developing a male contraceptive pill. Their findings are published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The concept of a male contraceptive pill is said to be the "holy grail" of fertility scientists but until now, it has been a source of frustration.
According to scientists, designing a male pill is more challenging and difficult than the female pill. With the recent developments, the researchers in Australia may be able to produce a viable male contraceptive that does not affect long-term sperm health or the male's sex drive.
Earlier attempts to develop a male pill that disabled the sperm or based on hormone therapy were criticised for its adverse health effects.
The new and improved male contraceptive pill works like a temporary vasectomy and blocks the sperm during sex. The male pill may also earn the approval of women who are not comfortable with the female pill's potential risk of strokes, heart attacks and blood clots.
However, a 2011 survey conducted by the Anglia Ruskin University revealed that half of the women will not depend on the male pill for contraception. The survey said women do not trust their partners to take the male pill.
According to Sabatino Ventura, the male pill will not affect a man's sex drive. Fertility can simply be switched back on by not taking the poll. When the male pill is taken daily, this will enable men to share in the task of family planning.
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