Coming coming coming but..!
Male contraceptive pill was coming since I was a child but it has not come yet. I will soon be 50 and I am not sure whether I will be able to see it in my lifetime. Scientists started research on male contraceptive pill in the 70’s. They focused on the use of hormones to control sperm production. Trial showed bad side effects. The whole project was cancelled. We heard that male birth control implant would come soon. Nothing ultimately came. In the late 80’s, some researchers were excited about a new discovery but they soon gave up because the world was not ready for it. It was difficult to get funding for research on male contraceptives. Only universities and non profit organizations continued their research on male pills.
In 1995, researchers isolated compounds from a plant called Tripterygium wilfordiiused, a Chinese herbal medicine. Plant based pill produced from gandarusa plant in Indonesia was non-hormonal but nobody liked it. Researchers fed extracts from the seeds of papaya fruit to monkeys and found they had no sperm. In 2002, tests were done on male rats using oleanolic acid, extracted from Eugenia jambolana, an African tree.The tests showed that the chemical was found to reversibly lower the rats’ sperm motility without affecting the sperm count.
Inhibition of chromatin remodeling by binding to a pocket on BRDT (Bromodomain testis-specific protein) has been shown to produce reversible sterility in male mice. Nifedipine, one of the Calcium channel blocker drugs, causes reversible infertility by changing the lipid metabolism of sperm. We do not know whether researchers stop doing research on nifedipine.
A compound that strikes against vitamin A pathway makes male mice sterile without affecting sexual drive. The drugs like Adjudin, Gamendazole etc. show reversible infertility in rats! Depo-Provera prevents spermatogenesis. Monthly injection ‘testosterone undecanoate’ has been doing fine, but they are not yet for the marketing. Phenoxybenzamine Silodosin,Trestolone are for blocking ejaculation and reducing sperm count. Trial results are good, but the drugs have never been ready for the market. UK’s ‘dry orgasm’ pill that made orgasm occur but not ejaculation, was also gone with the wind. There was a method to inhibit sperm production by heating testicles. Who knows what happened to the research on heat based contraception. Industries are interested in male everything but not in male contraceptives. They don’t see potential demands or dollars. In 2003, new research focused on non-hormonal pill but no non-hormonal pill is available yet.
RISUG or ‘Reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance’ should be popular but people are not interested in it. Dr. Régine L. Sitruk-Ware, reproductive endocrinologist said, “Market research has shown little interest from males, so companies have continued to [bow] out,” But the market research had showed almost no interest in NuvaRing, a combined hormonal contraceptive vaginal ring. But NuvaRing was on the market and sold well.
Scientists have now found JQ1, a molecule that blocks a protein essential for sperm production in mice and rats without changing their libido. It is not toxic for the animals. It has no effect on testosterone or sexual behavior. It does not appear to affect the first generation of offspring after the contraceptive is reversed. As the reproductive system of mice and men are similar, men can have this drug.
Researchers published their study and said, “We envision that our discoveries can be completely translated to men, providing a novel and efficacious strategy for a male contraceptive.”
These are nothing new to us. We get the same old promises every now and then. Male pill always comes closer. But it never really comes. The new pill will face the challenge of male contraception efficacy trials involving hundreds of couples over ‘several years’ in order to assess its true so called effectiveness. Several years would be several decades as usual. Then after several decades some other male contraceptive pill’s coming soon advert will be a Page One news all over the world but the male dominated world and the money oriented minds will never get ready for it.
Women will continue to be treated as guinea pigs.