Health

Male birth control pill passes human safety test.

by Leo Shvedsky

April 20, 2019

More than 50-years-ago, the female birth control pill was heralded as a revolutionary step forward in women’s empowerment. And the ensuing evidence goes a long way toward supporting that claim. Recent figures cited by Planned Parenthood show that investments in family planning equate to good government:

“The U.S. and state governments saved $13.6 billion in 2010 and it is estimated that for every $1 invested in family planning programs, federal and state governments save $7.09 in part because of unintended pregnancies that were prevented from publicly supported contraception”

 

But three generations into the birth control era and it’s increasingly obvious that the gender gap applies to reproductive health in ways some never even considered. After all, women typically bear the cost of family planning, to say nothing of the psychological, physical and financial burden that comes with wanted or unwanted pregnancies.

Enter science.

A new study of a male birth control pill passed its first round of human tests, with all men completing the 28-day-trial without dropping out from adverse side effects.

The pill works by suppressing sperm count without compromising the libido, meaning men can still enjoy sex, and want sex, while virtulally statistically eliminating the fear of unwanted pregnancy. From the announcement:

The experimental male oral contraceptive is called 11-beta-methyl-19-nortestosterone dodecylcarbonate, or 11-beta-MNTDC. It is a modified testosterone that has the combined actions of a male hormone (androgen) and a progesterone, said the study's co-senior investigator, Christina Wang, M.D., Associate Director, Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute (LA BioMed), Torrance, Calif.

"Our results suggest that this pill, which combines two hormonal activities in one, will decrease sperm production while preserving libido," Wang said.

The pill doesn’t work immediately. It takes around 60-90 days for men’s hormone levels to reach the right point for the birth control to be effective. Nonetheless, it’s a major step forward in leveling the playing field, both the empowerment and responsibility, for both men and women in reproductive health.

Still, there were some minor side effects reported such as acne. Next up, scientists are continuing clinic studies with rats and monkeys to see if issues such as increased blood pressure arise if the pill is taken for longer than three months. Once those trials have cleared, it’s likely the next stage of human trials can begin and then it’s only a matter of time before the male birth control hits the market.

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Male birth control pill passes human safety test.