There are currently only two approved contraceptive methods for men — condoms and vasectomy, which involves cutting the vas deferens. This procedure is suitable only for men who are no longer planning to have children because the surgery of restoring the vas deferens does not guarantee the ability to become fertile again.
Condoms are the safest contraceptives today. The Pearl Index, which describes the contraceptive effect, indicates that the lower the index, the safer the method is. Condoms have an index range from 2 to 18. That means that between 2 and 18 women out of 100 may get pregnant after having intercourse with a condom in a year. However, the condom hardly provides an opportunity for unrestrained sex, as it affects sensitivity, slips off, breaks due to passion or poor quality, and generally causes anxiety for men, as it distracts from the sexual process.
Good news! After half a century of development, trials of oral contraceptives for men have begun. That is right, the pills. The University of Minnesota scientists have developed a male contraceptive that does not affect hormone balance. YCT529, an oral contraceptive, neutralizes the RAR-α protein, which plays an important role in sperm formation. Male mice given the drugs for four weeks had a significant decrease in sperm count, which prevented pregnancies in 99% of cases. The subjects did not show any noticeable side effects. The mice became fertile again after four to six weeks after drug withdrawal. At the end of this year, clinical trials with males will begin.
Researchers from China have discovered a natural male contraceptive called triptolide, a compound extracted from a medicinal type of grapevine widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. The triptonide-based drug has been tested to show that it reduces sperm motility. Mice and monkeys showed almost 100% infertility for four to five weeks after a single dose of triptolide.
If both clinical trials succeed, the drugs will be released into production, providing men with an excellent alternative to condoms and vasectomies.
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