A contraceptive gel for men could be introduced in the near future
4th July 2012
Men are already spoilt for choice when it comes to their contraceptive needs. In regards to condoms, Durex and Skins in particularly have a vast range of different condoms to suit his and her preferences. Some condoms are ultra-thin to the extent you can barely feel it on, some are designed to have a ‘tingling’ effect for maximum pleasure, whereas others actually come in weird and wonderful flavours such as chocolate. If all this isn’t enough, a durex play vibrations ring can be used in conjunction with a condom to add to the pleasure! However now, scientists in America are claiming that they are in the development stages of formulating a gel for men that can be applied topically as a method of contraception. The gel is said to contain the male hormone testosterone and a synthetic progestin named ‘nesterone’. The two have been tested in the past, but only by injection, a pill form, or via an implant. In addition, these previous tests resulted in such adverse side effects such as effecting cholesterol levels and outbreaks of acne. Preliminary tests indicated that the gel managed to keep sperm concentration to less than one million sperm per millilitre within 89% of the men involved in the study and who were given the combination of the testosterone and nesterone. The researchers say that this level is low enough to possibly avoid pregnancy with ‘minimal side effects’. This is compared to only 23% of the participants who saw similar effects after only receiving testosterone. It is though that typical sperm concentration is 15 million per every millilitre. Dr Christina Wang from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbour-UCLA Medical Center, led the study and commented on the findings at the Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas, “Up until now, the responsibility for contraception has traditionally always been with the female. With these new contraceptive methods for males, the responsibility will be shared.” However, men should bear in mind that the gel is still in the early stages of production and its success rates of preventing pregnancy will be much lower that condoms, which boast a 98% effectiveness, and also the female birth control pill is an incredible 99% effective. Dr Wang also added that the treatment ‘warrants further study as a male contraceptive.”