Is the Male Pill on the Way?

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Is the long speculated about male birth control pill about to be a reality? Perhaps says a team of researchers at the University of Kansas School of Medicine who are working at putting the first male contraceptive pill on the market.

It seems a compound known as H2 gamendazole is capable of preventing the testes from producing sperm. The belief is that men taking a pill with gamendazole would ejaculate semen containing no sperm. The pill would not affect sex drive in males who take it and should they wish to discontinue use, fertility would resume in a few weeks.

It has been over 50 years since the female birth control pill first came on the scene. While women usually only produce one egg per menstrual cycle, men produce thousands of sperm each day. This has made inventing a contraceptive pill for men more challenging as any male birth control pill would have to target sperm production or their ability to swim to an egg for fertilization.

A male contraceptive pill has the potential to change the way individuals and couples view birth control. Historically, it has always been a matter for the woman. With the exception of condoms and vasectomies, forms of contraception have been for female use. With the male pill on the horizon, the social change it may bring will be interesting to examine. While it may be the male who takes the pill, it will still be the female who gets pregnant should the pill fail to work. Whether or not females will give up control of contraception to the male remains to be seen. Trusting a man to take a pill, correctly each day may be a stretch for some women considering they will have to deal with a pregnancy should they fail.

Researchers point out the male pill has been successful in laboratory tests on rats. Tests on mice, rabbits and monkeys have also been successful. FDA trials are in the works as well and FDA approval is estimated to be forthcoming within the next 10 years.


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