Male Birth Control Pill: One Step Closer
Two drugs used to treat organ transplant patients hold promise as viable birth control pill options for men. In a study published in the journal Science on October 1st, researchers in Japan reported that mice treated with the drugs Cyclosporine A (also known as CsA), and FK506 became infertile after 2 weeks of use – but regained fertility within a week after cessation of treatment.
Unlike hormonal contraceptives the drugs are protein specific. They act by blocking the protein essential for the sperm to penetrate the egg cell. Significantly, this would eliminate the possibility of side effects and leave sex drive unaffected. Because they are fast-acting and reversible, experts speculate acceptability in the marketplace would be high — the net effect being that men could soon have a viable, effective contraceptive in addition to condoms which recent studies suggest are declining in rates of use.
Benefits to Society, the Environment and Individuals
A male birth control pill would have myriad benefits for society and the environment, not least the greater ability for couples to space their children, helping to ensure every child is a wanted child, and every mother a willing mother. Equally significant, the resultant decline in fertility rates would likely lead to more sustainable economic development in parts of the world where population growth is continuing at alarming and harmful rates, contributing greatly to resource depletion and environmental degradation. Such is true in much of Africa, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mexico and the Philippines where, to a marked degree, the quality of life for all is negatively affected.
More Choice for Males
The development of a male contraceptive pill offers promise of further real choice to those who do not want children, or who want to space having them. If larger scale studies demonstrate its effectiveness in humans, these drugs could give greater protection to women wishing to avoid pregnancy, more sexual freedom to couples, and would play an important part in fostering a sustainable future for humanity.