The male birth control pill. Fantasy is becoming reality. For years, women had been taking the pill and we always said that the guys should also have to deal with it. Now that they may have that option, would you really trust a single guy when he says that he is on the pill?
Researchers have, by accident, found a pill that inhibits the production of sperm and decreases their mobility. This new drug has no side effects and once the man stops taking it, his sperm-count will go back up and he can father healthy babies. This pill also doesn't have any effects on his hormone levels and will not affect his sex drive. Sounds perfect, doesn't it?
When researchers for cancer medications were testing one of their medications, they found that a side effect that stopped or decreased a male’s ability to produce sperm. So actually this medication’s side effect is the intended purpose of the male “pill.”
When researchers at Dana-Faber Cancer Institute were doing their research for a new cancer drug, that was intended to inhibit cancer cells from reproducing, they found that the same molecule that stopped cancer from reproducing helped make the testicles temporarily “forget” to make sperm. The molecule is called JQ1 - named after the chemist that found it, Jun Qi, PH.D.
A very interesting point is that Jun Qi wasn’t working with or looking for fertility drugs. He contacted a fertility specialist, Dr. Martin Matzuk, at Baylor College of Medicine to help with the development of the molecule.
In performing their joint venture, they found that mice that were given injections of JQ1 decreased the amount of sperm that they produced and the ones that they did produce were poor swimmers. The drug had no effect on the mice’s’ sex drive and shortly after discontinuing the molecule, the mice sperm-counts returned to normal and all of the pups that the mice fathered were normal, with no birth defects.
Currently, research is working towards producing the molecule in a pill form and checking on additional side effects. At this time, they have not found any side effects. The human drug trials are expected to begin, within the next few years
The female birth control pill has been around for fifty-two years and is hormone based. The pill has many risks and side effects. Part of the delay to finding a male “pill” was that research was based on, and centered around, hormonal drugs that were not effective and had large amounts of side effects. Actually, due to the high amount of side effects, the researching of a male pill, that contained the hormone testosterone, was stopped back in 2000 because the researchers thought that males would not use it due to its side effects.
Still, with the male contraceptive pill - just as with the female pill - there is no protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
In speaking with several young males, I found that “unattached males” (meaning they had no current girlfriend) felt that it would be useless to take the pill. They all agreed that if they were in a relationship for more than six months, and their partners had been tested to be disease-free, there would be no problems with them being the ones taking responsibility for birth control, especially, if they were married and didn't want any children at the time. This was mainly because they felt the side effects for female pills are much worse than those for male pills.