British Couples Amongst First In The World To Male Contraception Gel
A British man will be one of the first in the world to trial a new male contraceptive gel.
James Owers, 29, and his girlfriend Diana Bardsley, 27, from Edinburgh have signed up to the study, which will look into the effectiveness of the hormone gel.
The international study will look at 450 couples who have agreed to use the gel, called NES/T, as their only form of contraceptive for the next 12 months.
The gel, which is applied topically, uses a mixture of progesterone and testosterone. Its reported that the progesterone stops sperm being produced, while the testosterone negates the effects of a drop in testosterone levels, meaning that users should continue to have a normal sex drive.
The men taking part have their sperm count checked regularly to ensure the gel is working.
If all goes well, it is thought that in the future couples can opt to use the gel as alternative to the female contraceptive pill.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast, James said: "I squeeze a 50p-piece-size out of the dispenser - the dispenser is a bit like one of those posh toothpaste tubes. It's got the consistency of hand sanitiser.
"I rub it into my shoulder and pectoral area and that dries in three to four seconds. I do that to the other shoulder and then I get dressed and go about my day as normal."
James and Diana have been using the gel since February but only have switched over to using it exclusively a week ago and he seems to be happy enough about the whole situation.
"I'm feeling very, very positive that either this contraceptive or other contraceptives for men will become available," he told the BBC.
Meanwhile, Diana says the trial has given her a chance to come off hormonal contraception for the first time since she was 16.
Adding: "By giving men more choice we are taking some of the burden off women and allowing men to have more freedom over their own contraceptive method."
Dr Cheryl Fitzgerald, who works as a consultant in reproductive medicine at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and is one of those behind the study, told Sky News that so far the study was going 'very well'.
"We are going to be looking at these men very closely throughout the duration of the trial to check that their sperm counts stays low," she told the news outlet.
"Obviously, if that doesn't happen, we will tell couples they need to use other forms of contraceptive, but certainly the evidence we've got so far, is that this is very, very effective and it really does, really, really suppress sperm counts, so I think it will be highly effective."
Featured Image Credit: PA