New male contraceptive gel to go under trial

From April next year a new contraceptive gel will be trialed on 420 men to see if it can be used to lower sperm count to below what can cause a pregnancy.

The study is based on the belief that testosterone causes pregnancy.

The most recent attempt came in 2011, when a WHO-sponsored trial on the verge of success imploded after one of the participants committed suicide. A previous one in 2000s ended after men complained of mood swings.

In gel form to be applied on shoulders, the contraceptive could be effective for up to 72 hours.

It is not clear whether the testosterone lowering works for everyone in preventing pregnancy but there is enough interest among men to reduce pregnancy according to surveys.

With testosterone proven to be reversible (ie stop taking the gel and returns to normal) this, if successful is seen as a more viable option.

But that mood swing issue might scare a lot, especially with that 2011 suicide hanging at the back of the mind.

Recently an injection-based contraceptive for men is being developed and could be ready in under two years.

The study is receiving joint funding from the United States of America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Population Council.

With information from Discover Magazine

Given the risk, would you take the gel? Does it bother you? Have your say below.

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