A new male contraceptive is 100 per cent effective and free from side effects, a team of Australian scientists claimed last week. The team, based at the Anzac Research Institute in Sydney, say the results of the study show the treatment provides an alternative to the female contraceptive pill. 'This is the first time that a reversible male contraceptive that will suppress sperm production reliably and reversibly has been fully tested by couples' said team leader David Handelsman.
In the study, the researchers gave 55 men injections of progestin DMPA (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate) every three months for a year. This hormone treatment stops sperm production, but also lowers testosterone levels, so the men also received testosterone skin implants every four months, to maintain their sexual health. None of the participants' partners became pregnant, and all had normal fertility a few months after stopping the treatment. Previous attempts to develop a male contraceptive have apparently encountered problems with reliability, and side effects such as mood swings and lowered sex drive.
The team believe that a male contraceptive could provide an alternative for couples where the woman has a higher risk of side effects from the female pill, or for men whose partners are breast feeding and cannot take the pill. They described the new treatment as 'like a reversible vasectomy' for men unsure about whether to undergo surgical sterilisation. The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Sources and References
Australian researchers successfully test hormone combination that suppresses sperm production
Australian male contraceptive trial results; no pregnancies
Birth control jab for men