There are many forms of birth control for women and companies making birth control for women, but when will any form of male birth control (other than the condom) be available to men? Well hopefully it wont be too much longer. Many universities and institutions, from India to Minnesota, have gained ground on the production of male birth control.
In the past I have posted about a possible birth control injection for men called RISUG (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance). It was created by Sujoy Guha in India, and although it is 100% effective it is getting wrapped in a lot of red tape. There is no need to be too sad over this injection not being on the market, because many other forms of male birth control may be on the way.
The Rockefeller University has been using research on cell death to try and create a male birth control and cure male infertility. I am no biology major but, to the best of my knowledge cell death is when the body purposefully kills its own cells; when sperm is being created it loses a large amount of its size by partial cell death. Sperm needs to loose a lot of it size in order to be fertile. Now that scientists at Rockefeller know more about the way sperm cells are created they can use this information to change the sperm: they can prevent sperm from having partial cell death and render them infertile or in cases of infertility where the sperm are not undergoing cell death they can cause it to happen. This is exciting stuff because knowing how cells are created will not only help in reproductive technologies but also in other areas of medicine such as cancer research.
The scientists at Rockefeller have been pretty busy because they may have a form of birth control on the market -hopefully- soon. In the studies the drug is in the form of a gel but could change forms when it has been further tested. One of the test subjects of this birth control has taken to reddit to share his experience. According to the test subject, and this article by Huffington Post, the only side effect was being horny(er). Considering all the side effects women face when taking birth control (depending on the type and person: abdominal pain, headaches, bloating, mood swings, blood clots, death…shall I go on) this doesn’t seem like a bad side effect at all. Hopefully the studies will end soon and this new drug will enter the market.
The University of Minnesota’s Gunda Georg, the head of The College of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry, is working with a team of scientists to develop Gamendazole. Gamendozole is a birth control pill for men.
Georg said the drug will be a “reversible” alternative to permanent vasectomies because men will be able to take the pill to temporarily minimize fertility and can regain fertility if they stop taking it… She said the drug has to be completely free of side-effects, such as potential sperm damage, before being released onto the market. “This drug has to be absolutely clean,” Georg said, “and that’s a very high hurdle to take.” (source)
Like many birth control creations for men it takes a long time to get on the market; too bad it wasn’t created at the same time as female birth control when no one cared about the side effects and deaths of test subjects or it would be on the market today along side the female birth control, but lets not dwell in the past.
In the future there will be a male form of birth control which will give men more reproductive options then they have every had before, and give couples more ways to prevent pregnancy. Let’s hope someone wins the fight to be the creators of the first male birth control on the market very soon, because we all know it will be in high demand.