Male birth control: Non-hormonal contraceptive pills for men

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Male birth control: Non-hormonal contraceptive pills for men

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Male birth control: Non-hormonal contraceptive pills for men

Subheading text
Birth control pills for men with minimal side effects to hit the market.
    • Author:
    • Author name
      Quantumrun Foresight
    • March 15, 2023

    Hormonal contraceptives are associated with side effects such as weight gain, depression, and elevated cholesterol levels. However, a new non-hormonal male contraceptive drug has demonstrated efficacy in reducing sperm count in mice with no observable side effects. This discovery could be a promising development in contraception, providing an alternative option for individuals who cannot or prefer not to use hormonal contraception methods.

    Male birth control context

    In 2022, researchers at Minnesota University developed a new non-hormonal male contraceptive pill that could offer a promising alternative to existing contraceptive methods. The medication targets the protein RAR-alpha in the male body, which interacts with retinoic acid to synchronize the spermatogenic cycle. The compound, called YCT529, was developed using a computer model that allowed researchers to precisely block the action of the protein without interfering with related molecules.

    In a study conducted on male mice, the researchers found that feeding them the compound resulted in a 99 percent effectiveness rate in preventing pregnancy during mating trials. The mice were able to impregnate females four to six weeks after being removed from the pill, and no noticeable side effects were observed. The researchers have partnered with YourChoice to conduct human trials, which are set to start later this year. If successful, the pill is expected to hit the market by 2027.

    While the new pill has the potential to be an effective form of male contraception, there are still concerns about whether men would use it. Vasectomy rates in the US are low, and the invasive female tubal ligation process is still more common. Additionally, questions remain about what would happen if men stopped taking the pill, leaving women to deal with the consequences of unintended pregnancy. Despite these concerns, developing a non-hormonal male contraceptive pill could provide individuals with a new and effective option for birth control.

    Disruptive impact 

    The availability of a greater mix of contraceptive options for both males and females can significantly reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies, which can have substantial financial and social consequences. This is especially true in regions where access to birth control is limited, as offering more choices can improve the chances of individuals finding a method that works well for them. Moreover, compared to surgical options, contraceptive pills are often more affordable and accessible to a wider range of individuals, making them a popular choice. 

    However, it's essential to note that even with various contraceptive options, the success rate will be debatable until their use is normalized. The effectiveness of contraceptives relies on consistent and proper use, and there are still many social, cultural, and economic factors that can impact access and constant use. For example, some individuals may feel uncomfortable discussing sex and contraception with their healthcare provider (especially among males), while others may not have access to high-quality, affordable care. Furthermore, lying about taking the pill or becoming lax in using contraceptives can exacerbate the risks of unplanned pregnancies, leading to negative health outcomes and other consequences. Nonetheless, giving males options aside from vasectomies can potentially encourage more open communication between couples who want to decide on the contraception method that works best for them. 

    Implications of male birth control

    Wider implications of male birth control may include:

    • Better women’s health as they stop taking hormonal contraceptives that can have severe side effects.
    • Reduced burden on foster care systems and orphanages.
    • A greater ability for males to take responsibility for their reproductive health, leading to a more equitable distribution of the contraceptive burden.
    • Changes in sexual behavior, making men more responsible for contraception and possibly leading to more casual sexual encounters.
    • Reduced number of unintended pregnancies and decreased need for abortion services.
    • Greater availability and use of male birth control pills slowing down population growth, particularly in developing countries.
    • The development and distribution of male birth control pills becoming a political issue, with debates over funding, access, and regulation.
    • Advancements in contraceptive technology and new opportunities for scientific research and jobs within the sector.
    • Fewer unintended pregnancies reducing the strain on resources and decreasing the environmental impact of population growth.

    Questions to consider

    • Do you think a significant percentage of the male population will take the pills?
    • Do you think females will ever stop taking pills and trust men to be responsible for contraception?