Recent advancements in birth control for men

19 May 2023

Birth control has traditionally been marketed towards women, with a focus on pills, patches, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) that prevent pregnancy through hormones or physical barriers. However, in recent years there have been exciting new developments in male birth control that could be real game changers.

We have outlined some of the latest breakthroughs in male birth control that may revolutionise the way we approach family planning below.

Hormonal Injections

One of the most promising new developments in male birth control is the hormonal injection. Essentially the male equivalent of a female birth control shot, this injection would be administered every few months and would work by suppressing the production of sperm. Trials of this injection have shown incredibly high effectiveness rates, with over 96% of participants experiencing a significant reduction in their sperm count.

One of the key benefits of hormonal injections is that they are entirely reversible. Unlike permanent sterilisation procedures like vasectomies, the hormonal effects of this injection wear off within a few months of the last shot. This makes it an ideal option for couples who want to practice birth control for a set period of time without committing to a permanent decision.

Non-Hormonal Options

While hormonal injections are certainly an exciting development, some men may prefer a non-hormonal option when it comes to birth control. The good news is that there are several promising options in this category as well.

One of the most promising non-hormonal male birth control methods is a technique called RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance). This involves injecting a non-toxic polymer gel directly into the vas deferens, where it forms a physical barrier that prevents sperm from leaving the body. Because this method is entirely non-hormonal, it avoids some of the potential side effects associated with hormone-based birth control.

Another non-hormonal option currently in development is a male contraceptive pill. Like the female birth control pill, this method works by suppressing the production of certain hormones in the body that are necessary for sperm production. While the pill is still in the earliest stages of development, it shows great promise as a reversible, long-term contraceptive option for men.

While condoms and vasectomies have historically been the go-to male birth control methods, there are now more options than ever before. As more men become active participants in family planning discussions, we can expect this trend to continue, leading toward a more equitable and effective approach to birth control for all.

– By Mariusz Bogacki, Researcher and Science Communicator, Edinburgh

Visiativ works with numerous biotechnology, life science, scientific services, and consultancy companies, recovering significant funds that can be utilised to finance future research and development projects. Learn more about our collaboration with companies in the life sciences industry here.

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