New Study On Possible Male Birth Control Pills Has Positive Early Lab Results
When it comes to male birth control, they normally only have two choices, either to use a condom or to get sterilized. However, a new study has found that early lab tests in mice are suggesting that there may just be a new possibility in the near future.
These early lab tests have found that there may just be a possibility for men to use a birth control pill that they can take, only as needed, before they have se. This pill, which is currently being called TDI-11861 as it has yet to be named, is in the works to stop sperm that’s on its way by traveling through the female reproductive tract to go fertilize a female egg.
On-Demand Birth Control Pill for Men
According to the results that were published in the Nature Communications journal, the early lab experiments done using a single dose of the TDI-11861 pill, it has managed to immobilize mice sperm for at least two and a half hours. Around three hours after the pill was ingested, the some of the sperm began to move again, while all almost all the sperm managed to regain their mobility around 24 hours after.
Moreover, there were no pregnancies after the male mice were given the drug before mating with female mice. On the contrary, the study showed that the male mice that were not given the drug didn’t impregnant the females either by around one-third of the time as well.
According to the study’s senior authors, professors of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, Jochen Buck, MD, PhD, and Lonny Levin, PhD, what this implies is that one day, men may be able to use birth control pills as-needed before they have sex to prevent pregnancy.
Both doctors said in an email, “Men would only take a contraceptive when, and as often, as they need.”
Key for Future Male ‘Pill’ Is All in the Timing
However, one major warning is that men must use it properly for it to work, the study authors caution.
Both doctors shared, “We anticipate that the ultimate drug we develop will be active within 30 minutes of taking it and will remain active — with the man infertile — for 12 to 18 hours. The man will have to watch the clock to ensure he does not exceed the active window.”
This experimental drug actually belongs to what they are calling a new family of medicines that are specifically designed to ‘block a protein known as soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC), which plays a key role in helping sperm mature and move.’ As for TDI-11861, it is showing that it’s quite a fast acting sAC inhibitor, and one single dose works and eventually wars off afterwards. Basically, this means that it’s long enough to prevent pregnancy in the hours just after use, however not long enough for extended use.
The study authors note that usually after ejaculation, sperms swims vigorously through the female vagina in order to move through the cervix and into the uterus. Once they’re in the uterus, the sperm have the ability to survive for several days, making it possible for pregnancy to occur even many days after intercourse.
But the authors also explain, “However, sperm which come from a man who took an sAC inhibitor will be immotile, which means they will remain trapped in the vagina and never penetrate the cervix.”
When Will It Be On the Market?
Like most other animal trials, more studies are needed in mice before they can begin human trials. Drs Buck and Levin explain that they hope to start their human clinical trials within two to three years.
According to contraceptive researcher and professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Stephanie Page, MD, PhD, said that one main concern about the idea of immobilizing sperm to prevent pregnancy is whether this type of experimental drug could remain active within the entire time the sperm is inside the female reproductive tract to truly be a reliable form of contraception. Notably, she wasn’t part of the new study.
Dr. Page said, “In humans, sperm can live in the female reproductive tract for a few days, so an effective method of contraception targeting this aspect of male fertility may need to last at least 48 hours and perhaps longer.”
Another professor and director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Gunda Georg, PhD, also shared that considering this new pill will be given to healthy men, it must be extremely safe for them to take it. Again, Dr. Georg wasn’t involved in the new study.
She explained, “Having an agent for on-demand contraception is an exciting idea. Men would not need to take the pill every day and only before intercourse, and occasional use of the sAC inhibitor lowers the possibility that men would experience potential side effects from the drug.”