A birth control pill may one day be available for men

Reversible birth control options for men are currently limited to barrier contraceptive methods – the most common being the condom. However, the results of a new study may guide scientists in the development of a new contraceptive option for men – a non-hormonal birth control pill.

Dr. Jay Bradner of Harvard Medical School, and his colleagues, have developed a molecule (JQ1) designed to block cancer-causing genes. Since JQ1 also inhibits the testicular protein which aids sperm production, it is being hailed as a possible male contraceptive. JQ1 has entered clinical trials with cancer patients, which will allow researchers to study its effects on men’s sperm production. If the results demonstrate that JQ1 significantly affects men’s fertility, researchers will more specifically investigate its potential as a birth control method.

So why a male contraceptive and would men even use such a pill? Interestingly, the results of a survey of 132 men and 165 women recently presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, found that 90% of participants were interested in a reversible male contraceptive (RMC) pill. However, while 81% of men reported that they would comply with the medication regimen required of an RMC pill, only 66% of women thought their partners would actually follow through and take the RMC pill as prescribed. Perhaps that is why 78% of the women in the survey said they likely would not stop using their current method of birth control even if their partner started taking an oral contraceptive!

Read more about JQ1 and the male birth control pill option here.


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