A new male contraceptive is expected to begin clinical testing next year. The trials will be held by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to the researchers, the potential male contraceptive will be gel-based and is supposed to be applied onto the user’s skin and not place directly on the genitals.
A similar trial was conducted by the same team of researchers in 2012 where they combined the application of two gels designed to block normal sperm secretion. The results revealed that the user’s semen level count dropped to less than 1 million per milliliter. This value is considered below the average 15 to 200 million sperm per milliliter required to be fertile.
For the upcoming trial, which will be held in April, researchers have combined the two gels into one easy to use rub-on contraceptive. The new gel combines two synthetic hormones of progesterone and testosterone. Progesterone’s substitute, nestorone, acts as a progestin which basically blocks the testicles from producing enough testosterone to create normal sperm levels. The testosterone substitute will then counteract the hormone imbalances that progestin causes.
While clinical trial for the new contraceptive is due to start in April next year, the gel won’t arrive at our local pharmacies for at least four years. According to the researchers, 400 couples will be involved in the study. As part of the trial, the men will be asked to take a pump bottle of the contraceptive and apply around half a teaspoon of gel on their upper arms and shoulders every day.
The gel reportedly dries up after approximately one minute and keeps sperm levels low for about three days after using it.
Researchers stressed the need for using the gel on a daily basis, as men who forget to apply it for a couple of days will definitely see an opposite effect. During the trial, the men will use the gel for at least four months while their partners will use female contraception just to be safe.
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