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Scientists Say A Range Of Male Contraceptive Products Could Be Available 'Soon'

Scientists Say A Range Of Male Contraceptive Products Could Be Available 'Soon'

It's something that has been promised for decades, but with trials going well, a range of male contraceptives could soon be available.

Scientists working on the advancements say gels, daily pills, injections, and even a reversible vasectomy could be the future .

The gel, segesterone acetate, brand name Nestorone, is one of the most promising of those that are currently being developed.

It is a synthetic progestin-type female sex hormone, which is used in the US in the female contraceptive pill.

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The user rubs it on his shoulders and upper arms each day, and it releases into the bloodstream over the following 24 hours, working by switching off sperm production in the testes.

Over the past year, the gel has been tested out by teams of researchers at Edinburgh University and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Trials are being carried out on a contraceptive gel. Credit: PA
Trials are being carried out on a contraceptive gel. Credit: PA

Speaking about the study, Richard Anderson, a professor of clinical reproductive science leading the Edinburgh research, told the Daily Mail: "We now have five couples who have completed a year of using the contraceptive gel without any untoward incidents.

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"All is going well with the trial, though it will be a good three years before it is completed."

Dr Christina Wang, an investigator at The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation, is leading the trail of the gel in the US.

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She says the pill, gel, and monthly injection are the most promising options being studied.

She said: "People like the idea of the daily pill because it's easy, but only between one and three percent of the drugs are absorbed when taking a pill. By contrast, the gel is absorbed by about 10 percent, while the percentage for the injection is almost 100 percent.

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"I believe the gel will be approved for sale first, followed by the injection. Trial evidence shows the gel is safe, well-tolerated and suppresses sperm output to very low levels in more than 90 percent of volunteers."

A male contraceptive pill is one of the most promising options, experts say. Credit: PA
A male contraceptive pill is one of the most promising options, experts say. Credit: PA
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According to reports, the hopes for any kinds of injections or pills rest on an experimental male drug called dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU).

Similarly to the gel, it combines the male testosterone-like hormone and a female progestin.

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Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine at Washington University, is working on the preliminary stages of clinical trials of DMAU as both a daily pill and an injection.

She said: "Our phase one study is showing promising results. One hundred men have received injections of various amounts of DMAU. Thus far, the injections are exceedingly well-tolerated."

Work is also underway on a reversible vasectomy, which could prevent pregnancies for up to 13 years.

The technique, which involves disabling the sperm ducts by injecting into them a plastic called styrene maleic anhydride, has been trialled over 300 men by researchers at the Indian Council of Medical Research, with a reported success rate of 97.3 percent.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, Sex, Technology

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Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]