Male contraceptive hope28th November 2006
Scientists at Kings College London are working on a new contraceptive treatment designed to stop men ejaculating sperm.
The possibility of blocking sperm has been welcomed by fertility experts who say it would increase shared contraceptive responsibility amongst couples. "For women, it would be another form of liberation," said a spokesperson for the Family Planning Association.
The researchers identified that some blood pressure and schizophrenia drugs had the effect of stopping men from ejaculating and have pinpointed chemicals which can do the same thing.
The team now plans to test the chemicals in animal and human studies and hope to have developed a treatment within five years. If successful the treatment will act by preventing the longitudinal muscle in the vas deferens contracting to propel sperm out of the penis.
Several other male contraceptives, given as injections, implants or patches are under development but most of these are based on hormones which trick the brain into switching off hormone production. Because it is not dependent on hormones, the new sperm-blocking treatment should mean a man’s fertility returns to normal the day after he takes the drug. It is proposed men would take a pill each day, as women do with the female contraceptive pill.
Dr Allan Pacey, of the British Fertility Society, has welcomed the new concept but said further tests were needed as he was concerned that sperm would be 'redirected' into urine, or be present in the urethra, which could still result in pregnancies.
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