Written by: m.wilson
Male birth control is coming and may hit the market within the next 7 to 10 years, or sometime in the 2030s, according to researchers. And there will be many methods to choose from. Some of the drugs work similarly to the female pill by controlling hormones, but there are also nonhormonal and “on demand” compounds that can be taken prior to sex – as well as gels, injections, and implants currently in the works.
Of course, this is excellent news, so the first question many people ask is why it took so long? And for that matter – why have women had to assume most of the responsibility all these years? LifeSciences Intelligence credits Roe vs. Wade with creating a society where those with uteri can take full responsibility for birth control. So that now post-Roe, researchers feel motivated to get male birth control on the market. On the other hand, Nurx, a medical advisory blog, surmises that there has been no male birth control until now, because of the side effects, which caused the male subjects to drop out of trials. Some developers support this belief, stating that women are usually more willing to tolerate various effects (and concerns about potential effects) because they are the partner who ends up pregnant. And that is also why they are more apt to ingest a compound that will alter their bodily functions on a regular basis. The FDA is reportedly another hurdle to obtaining the product because, for example, it has yet to decide how long clinical trials must go on before approval, making it more difficult for researchers to get funding. But in plain speech, it seems likely that the delay may also have something to do with male status, the innate desire to procreate, statehood, and/or psycho-sexual issues, etc.
WHAT IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE?/ HOW DOES IT WORK?
Currently, there are only two birth control options for men – condoms and vasectomy. So what’s next? Healthline states that there are more than 100 different ways of creating birth control for men now being reviewed, and that address various aspects of insemination, including fertilization, mobility, spermatogenesis, and sperm transport. Though many researchers speculate that first out of the gate will be the injectables administered as an outpatient procedure. RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance), which has reportedly been in development in India for decades – is an injectable Phase-lll product in clinical trials as of last year. The RISUG injection is similar to a vasectomy but without surgery. The sperm tubes in the testicles (the vas deferens) are injected with the compound (RISUS), resulting in protection that is 99 percent effective for up to 10 years and reversible with a simple baking soda flush.
Vasagel “The long-acting, nonhormonal, and reversible contraceptive hydrogel for men,” is the American version of RISUG (though it is not quite the same formula) and is now advancing toward clinical trials and regulatory review. ADAM is another nonhormonal formula injected into the penis, which works by blocking the tubes enabling ejaculation. Human studies with ADAM will complete in June 2025.
Injectables might be most attractive to those seeking nonhormonal compounds that last longer and require less maintenance. But for men concerned about lasting effects, it’s looking like the hormonal methods will be more reversible.
YCT529, created by the University of Minnesota, is taken like the standard pill, once daily, and is heading for trials. It is 99 percent effective in mice and works by inhibiting the retinoic protein receptor alpha (starving it of vitamin A), and accomplished without blocking testosterone, which leads to side effects such as decreased libido, depression, and weight gain. So far, there are no side effects, and the mice recovered their previous virility within four to six weeks.
“ON DEMAND” METHOD The inhibitor many call the “on demand” method, is a compound taken at least 30 minutes or an hour before sex, can prevent pregnancy for up to one day. This drug is extra promising because it does not target testosterone and, instead, interacts with the sAC enzyme sperm use to swim. Then after the inhibitor wears off, these same sperm go about swimming again. The next step for Sacyl Pharmaceuticals following its success with the mice is human trials.
The hormonal pills…
DMAU According to Live Science, the candidate closest to completion is being developed by academic institutions in Washington and California. DMAU prevents insemination by increasing testosterone, which then triggers the brain to halt the release of luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones, thereby suppressing testosterone in the testicles. DMAU (dimethandrolone undecanoate), remains in the body for 24 hours, making it necessary for the 1 pill per day /28 days plan.
NES/T Is a combination nestorone and testosterone hormonal gel applied to the arms and shoulders that reduces sperm count (livescience). Nestorone is an ingredient found in birth control for women, and the testosterone helps with side effects. Human trials for NES/T are set to complete in December 2024.
HOW NEW BIRTH CONTROL CHANGES SOCIETY
People say that the female birth control pill, which came onto the market in 1960, is responsible for profound changes in American society. In television terms, for example, one minute there’s Leave It To Beaver and the next, Bewitched (1964) and The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970). They believe that the pill enabled these more powerful, second-wave female characters to emerge. Therefore many speculate that the “The Male Pill” will be similar. But how exactly?