On BioScience and Life and Such

Update: Why don’t they make a birth control pill for men

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2008 at 11:10 am

post to news.thinkgene.com

But they have………, and like the female pill, it’s based on hormones, – mainly testosterone. According to a review by John K Amory et al., Testosterone mixed with second agents like Progestogens and GnRH-antagonists is able to suppress spermatogenesis to zero in 80-90 % of men and give near completion suppression in the rest.

Thus, the more relevant question must be: why aren’t men taking their birth control pill ?

Well one reason can be that men could be facing an injection rather than a pill, – and needles are psychological barriers to many, – men and women alike.

Another reason is men being hormonal (sic)…..mixed with a fear of possible side effects. But then again, side effects may not be a major issue since, in gym’s and athletes arena’s around the world, many men are taking these hormones, exactly because of the side effects to infertility – improved athletic performance and muscle mass. Thus, one would think that these side effects were desirable for a lot of men.

For men, it looks as though the purpose of infertility just doesn’t quite cut it as reason good enough for taking your pill, even if the side effects have a positive spin or are minimized. Men are simply shying away from hormonal treatment to stop spermatogenesis, for whatever reason.

Aternatives then, are needed since according to MaleContraceptives.org contrary to what can be concluded from the perspectives mentioned above, there is an expressed will amongst men to use pharmaceutical contraceptives. They list projects for improved hormonal therapies as well as non-hormonal alternatives already in existence or in development. They even list a number of places where clinical trials are happening. Trials you could join presumably, if interested.

A company that is not listed on their site (yet) is Spermatech which is a (the only ?) company working on a non-hormonal pharmaceutical contraceptive. Their drug target is a sperm specific protein that is crucial for sperm motility. If you knock out the activity of this protein, you also knock down the sperms ability to swim and hence it’s ability to fertilize the egg. And it all should happen without effects in the rest of the body since the protein is sperm specific, – or so the theory goes. Because, It is a long way from drug target to approved pharmaceutical. So far though it’s all looking very promising.

No matter which drug or treatment reaches the market, it’s about time we as men, share the burden of pharmaceutical contraception with our women. Possibly, we could even save some lives since todays female birth control pill is not risk free.

More blogging on this issue can be found by searching the phrase “Why don’t they make a birth control pill for men” at ScienceBlogs.

Original post here.

Disclaimer: I own shares in Spermatech AS. Their patents were issued based on scientific publications where I was lead author.


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