(Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash)
The UW School of Medicine will launch its first clinical trial for a male contraceptive device that they have been working on for a decade. Professor of Medicine and co-leader of the study, dr. William Bremner says it's a gel contraceptive that a man would rub in his shoulders every day.
"We use testosterone in combination with another drug to turn off the pituitary hormones that stimulate the testicles and prevent the testicles from excreting sperm," Dr. Bremner. "The net result is that you have a normal testosterone level, a normal male hormone level, but they do not give you any semen in your ejaculate. They released a normal volume of ejaculate, their partners did not know any difference in this respect. In the ejaculate, however, there are not very few floating spermatozoa.
After two or three months, the body should stop producing sperm, and if a man no longer uses the gel, the sperm will return a few months later. Bremner says there is a common misconception that men are not interested in controlling their own fertility.
"This is a widely held view that we do not believe to be true. We have no problem getting men to join the trials. There were a large number of surveys that have gone around the world in different cultures and religions. About 75 percent around the world say they are ready to use men's contraception if it is effective, safe and reasonably cheap. For many people, it is surprising that about one third of all contraceptives in the United States are already male. Approximately 1
In the small studies that UW has done so far, there do not seem to be any major side effects. Many women do not like hormonal birth control because it affects their mood and emotions. The only side effects that Dr. Bremner has seen so far, light weight gain, muscle gain are not fat and acne, but only in men who had outbreaks in their teenage years.
He says this would be the first new contraceptive for men in about 200 years and the more options we have the better.
"It turns out that about half of the pregnancies are not planned and about a quarter is actually undesirable. You know, there are only three methods for humans. Either a vasectomy that is permanent, and a condom that is not particularly acceptable to some men and couples [and the pull-out method]. So there are really no great new methods available to men to prevent the huge, huge number of unwanted pregnancies.
This first study involves 400 couples in the US, Africa, Europe and South America. If you want to join the study, search here for people who want to participate. Men must be between 18-50 and 18-35 for women.
"It must be a couple that is believed to remain monogamous over a year and a half of study. It's really a study for a few.
If you are interested in attending, call Dr. Bremner's partner Kathy Winter at the number 206-616-0484 or e-mail [email protected]