Male birth control pill on the horizon?

There has been much discussion about a version of oral contraceptives that would be taken by men rather than women, but so far nothing material has come of it. Now, a team of scientists at the University of Kansas School of Medicine claim they have gathered enough significant data about a potential men’s version of “the pill” that they are ready to approach the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

The pill, which has been in development for the past 10 years, involves a chemical compound called H2-gamendazole. This compound is able to stop the testes from developing sperm, meaning it would make it impossible for men to impregnate their partner while on the pill. However, the drug would not protect them from sexually transmitted infections.

While the idea of this pill may make some men cringe, the news source reports that the drug, if approved, would not interfere with a man’s sex drive. Furthermore, once he stopped taking the pill, his fertility would return to normal levels within a few weeks.

Many research teams have attempted to create a male form of birth control, but there have been significant roadblocks thus far. Part of the problem is the fact that men produce 1,000 sperm per second, according to the news source, while women only produce one egg per month. Currently, men are still limited in their choices to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Abstaining from sex, wearing condoms or undergoing a vasectomy are still the only viable options.

Interest in a male contraceptive pill may correlate directly with the acceptance and popularity of condoms, which put the responsibility of pregnancy prevention largely in the hands of men.

“Condoms moved from behind the counter in the drug store to out front, and so did our attitudes,” Laura Lindberg of the Guttmacher Institute told the news source.

However many men are still skeptical.

“I would rather rely on a solution that doesn’t [involve] medicating myself and the problems women have had with hormone therapy doesn’t make me anxious to want to sign on to taking a hormone-type therapy,” Scott Hardin, a single college administrator, told MSNBC.

Other men, like Quentin Brown of Los Angeles, who is involved in clinical trials of a male oral contraceptive, are more accepting. He told the news source that he thinks “it is time for men to have some control” regarding birth control.

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