An overdue alternative to vasectomy and condoms.
According to The Daily Mail UK, British scientists have discovered a new method of male birth control which has the potential to be a viable option to the current alternatives of vasectomy and condoms. The discovery is a compound that permeates the sperm, essentially making it temporarily immobile and thus unable to fertilize a woman’s egg.
Researchers from Wolverhampton University, along with IVF experts at Portugal’s Aveiro University, created a unique ‘cell penetrating peptide’ to breach the sperm’s cell wall and render the sperm immobile. Their idea was predicated on the knowledge that major cause of male infertility is from sperm that move too slowly, and thus halting the movement of the sperm would result in the inability for egg fertilization.
Professor John Howl, lead researcher, of Wolverhampton University, described the effectiveness of the sperm-immobilizing agent in recent lab tests:
‘The results are startling – and almost instant. When you take healthy sperm and add our compound, within a few minutes the sperm basically cannot move.’
Howl added, ‘This is a totally unique approach – nobody else has ever done this before.’
The effect of the potential contraceptive is temporary and thus fertility would be restored when the effects wear off, perhaps in a matter of days, making it ideal for those who may want to have children at a future time. Methods of use would potentially be a fast-acting nasal spray, an implant, or a pill whereby the compound would take effect in as little as minutes before intercourse.
For couples that have limited options for contraceptives because of health issues or other circumstances, this innovation could be a game changer. It also would provide men with a reliable contraceptive choice that is within their discretion and reversible. After the required series of successful testing, researchers think that the product could be available in as early as four to five years.