Finally a Male Pill


For sexually active men who want to take part in birth control, there are really two options: condoms and vasectomies. Both have shortcomings.

We found a study though that looks appealing - a drug taken before sex to temporarily stop millions of sperm swimming and fertilizing the egg.

What researchers are focused on is a protein called soluble adenylyl cyclase or sAC. In one study, genetically engineered mice without this protein were sterile.

In a different study, when they blocked the protein to treat an eye condition, an unexpected side effect was mouse sperm that weren't able to swim forward.

Other scientists also discovered that men without an sAC gene were infertile, so these studies suggested drugs targeting sAC in humans might be a good birth control option.

In the latest study, they found several small molecule inhibitors targeting sAC that blocked mouse and human egg fertilization in a lab dish. When a male mouse was given a dose of a sAC inhibitor, it immobilized mouse sperm for two and a half hours and remained effective in the female reproductive tract after mating.

After three hours, the sperm started to regain mobility and within a day, they were back to normal. In fifty-two matings, none of the females became pregnant compared to thirty percent in untreated mice.

And since condoms are only 87% effective and vasectomies are mostly permanent, having a third reliable on-demand option for men is sorely needed.

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More Information

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