Have you ever thought why in the age of exclusive achievements in modern pharmacology, biology, medicine, artificial insemination, the cloned sheep, tests of an artificial uterus and other surprising achievements of science, we don’t still have male birth control pill?
Why are male birth control pills still not created, while such an invention is seemingly doomed to popularity among men, commercial success?
Both male, and female population of the planet dream of such wonderful pill for many years. However, the achievements in this area have started appearing quite recently. This article describes the difficult path that eventually led to the discovery of non-hormonal pill, which blocks the semen production at the gene level without any serious side effects.
First birth control pills
It appears that such pills were created and successfully tested even in the distant 70-ies of XX century. Dr. Elsimar Coutinho from Brazil has developed, successfully tested and launched production of these pills in China. The Israeli scientists already think of the name of the male birth control pill.
The second attempt
In the late 50’s near the Salem town (Oregon, USA), scientists started testing the birth control pill called WIN 18,446 on male prisoners. And WIN 18,446 worked perfectly: prisoners felt well and looked quite healthy, and had significantly less sperm while the remaining sperm was stunted and weak. It seemed perfect at a glance. However when the clinical trials started among the free population, nasty side effects revealed.
After taking the pill men started to show characteristic signs of poisoning: vomiting, sweating, headaches and blurred vision. The scientists managed to find the cause of the fiasco. It was the alcohol. As prisoners couldn’t take alcohol, during the first tests of WIN 18,446 the fact that it can be badly combined with booze could not be exposed. Thus, work on the male miracle pill was abandoned. However, it was one of the most successful attempts to develop man’s contraceptive pills.
The main challenge of the Male birth control pill development is creating a reversible method with no side effects and high efficiency in the inhibition of spermatogenesis. Otherwise, no man would agree to make the risky choice of the kind.
Today, due to the wide distribution of women’s contraceptive pills, the need of male birth control pill seems far-fetched. But many problems are still not solved. The population growth rate is gaining momentum (in some countries this growth is almost uncontrollable). A significant percentage of pregnancies are unplanned, and it generates the high frequency of abortions, particularly among adolescents. A wide variety of contraception options was invented for women (from barrier ones that are introduced surgically, to hormonal agents of various forms), unfortunately, it is not available to all because of the high cost or physiological intolerance. So, the need for male’s alternative is obvious.
Finally, Israeli experts managed to create a pill that deactivates the activity of the sperm before they reach the uterus. And the system they have developed involves the use of pills every three months. Nevertheless, according to the experts’ work on the revolutionary invention, this product will become available to public no sooner than in three years. It should also be noted that the combination of the male hormone testosterone and female progesterone is not used in this form of birth control pill.
These hormones were the ground for the attempts to create a male birth control pill previously based. The active components of the pill neutralize the effect of a vital protein in sperm, which controls the fertilization of an egg. As a result, at reaching a uterus, the sperm already loses viability and can’t impregnate an ovum. Using this approach, experts consider that they have found a way which is 100 percent effective in pregnancy prevention job. There are other pros besides long validity period: it doesn’t cause any side effects. Unfortunately, you can’t tell the same about the female birth control pills which cause many health issues in many cases. The other pills, containing an equivalent of a man’s sexual hormone are still being tested. However some men of the test group report of the emergence of a depression, apathy, and also about the loss of a sexual “appetite”.
The work of the Professor Haim Breitbart
“Men don’t tolerate the side effects well, therefore, the presence of any of them deters many representatives from the use of the pill. Our contraceptive doesn’t have the problem of the kind” – says Professor Breitbart Haim, the expert from the Bar-Ilan University of Israel, who participated in the development of the pill.
Professor adds that having tested the pill on mice, they managed to make experimental rodents sterile, and, the preparation in a smaller dose provided sterility within a month, in larger doses a mouse remained not capable of breeding for up to three months. Thus, the behavior of mice didn’t change, they behaved, as usual, ate and coupled. Breitbart also added that they didn’t find any deviations or side effects which were somehow reflected in behavior or on the sexual life of mice which is a very important factor for men.
Big lack of man’s contraceptives (which weren’t brought to perfection and which possessed the mass of side effects) was an existence of fear that it is possible to forget to take a pill. Numerous polls regularly showed that wives or partners don’t trust the men in this question. Now this problem is solved. A new pill will have to be taken either once a month, or once in three months.
“I think that it won’t be a challenge for most women to remind the partners that once a month or quarterly they need to take a pill”, – professor Breitbart says. Male birth control pill of a new generation blocks the mechanism by means of which pregnancy occurs at a chemical level. Therefore, when the sperm reaches the uterus, it is unable to fertilize an egg.
“We were looking for a combination of several compounds, which will not affect the fading of sexual desire, but will be able to break the reproductive ability of sperm for a certain period of time. Due to the fact that hormonal side effects from do not exist, we believe that it will be easy enough to get the approval from the health authorities “, – added the Professor.
Professor Breitbart stunned the world of science four years ago, having disapproved the conventional opinion that fertilization happens when sperm gets to a uterus and reaches an ovum. Research showed that sperms stay active within three days after they got to a female body.
“The development of male birth control pill where the hormones are not involved was the main purpose of my work” – professor Breitbart concludes.
So, pretty soon guys… The male contraception pill is still around the corner…