Drugs & MedicationsHuman Interest


Whoa! What did I just say? A male contraceptive?

That’s right! A male contraceptive that within 30 minutes of taking, causes sperm to become immobile. For a man’s sperm to be effective and result in a pregnancy, two characteristics must exist. There must be an adequate number of sperm and they must be mobile; they must be able to move, or swim, to where they must be to fertilize the female ovum (egg). The movement of sperm is called motility. 

Now, there is a “proof-of-concept study” being conducted to tell researchers if the idea of immobilizing sperm is really a feasible method of contraception. That’s an altogether new approach to contraception shifting the responsibility for preventing pregnancy to the man whose sperm are the bullets that target the woman’s single, vulnerable egg. 

Currently, the drug’s identity is known only by a number. It is non-hormonal and did not cause organ damage or behavior changes in recipients (mice). But it inactivated sperm within 30 minutes and was effective at immobilizing sperm for 2.5 hours.

The effects of the drug are quickly reversible (they don’t say how), and all sperm regained normal motility after 24 hours! This study was done in mice and fortunately, was effective enough the population of mice in the study will not be increasing any time soon.

Right now, the study is being undertaken to determine if a male contraceptive could be effective. So far it appears it is, but more study of this drug, especially in humans, is necessary to define how it will affect human sperm and healthy males. If it is effective, it would be the first male-oriented contraceptive since vasectomy and condoms, and they’ve been around a long time. Dr. G hopes it works, is inexpensive, and has no serious adverse effects. 

Reference: MEDICAL NEWS IN BRIEF: On-Demand Male Contraceptive Compound Promising in Mouse Study. JAMA 2023 March 22;329(11):874.

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