Guys, take note: Male birth control pill may be ready soon

September 5, 2012

Attention men: The day may be coming soon when you can take your own birth control pill with no side effects, according to a study done by a group of scientists that includes a Texas A&M University researcher.

Qinglei Li, an assistant professor in Texas A&M's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, is part of a team of researchers led by Martin Matzuk at Baylor College of Medicine and James Bradner at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who made the discovery, and their work is published in the journal Cell.

Working on mice, the team found that a compound called JQ1 acts as an inhibitor to sperm production and also sperm mobility.

"Both of these are needed for fertility, but JQ1 prevents both," Li says of the findings.

"It stopped the sperm production very dramatically. More good news is that there appear to be no whatsoever. Once the JQ1 was no longer given to the mice, they were back to their normal reproduction rates, and it did not affect mating behavior or the health of the offspring."

Though the mice were given injections, the team believes that a pill could eventually be developed for the same results.

A male contraceptive pill has been talked about for decades, but so far none has been successfully created despite a strong demand.

While many men might be reluctant to take out the trash or ask for directions if they are lost, recent studies have shown that about 70 percent of men would be willing to take a if it were available.

One drawback to many female contraceptives is that they sometimes interfere with hormones, especially estrogen. But Li says the team is confident that JQ1 does not affect testosterone levels in , and appears to have no other side effects as well.

As with many discoveries, the JQ1 compound appears to have come about by accident.

It was originally used for anti-cancer treatments, but researchers found it was also an excellent compound in controlling fertility.

"This is an exciting step in male contraception," Li adds.

"A compound with more specificity will be needed before clinical trials can be done for humans. It does not mean a male just yet, but it is a great step forward in that direction."

Explore further: Could a birth control pill for men be on the horizon?

Related Stories

Could a birth control pill for men be on the horizon?

June 4, 2011

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center are honing in on the development of what may be the first non-steroidal, oral contraceptive for men. Tests of low doses of a compound that interferes with retinoic acid receptors ...

Finally: A male contraceptive pill in the making?

August 16, 2012

The development of a male contraceptive pill has long proven to be elusive, but findings from a new study may point scientists in the right direction to making oral birth control for men a reality.

Recommended for you

Flu study, on hold, yields new vaccine technology

September 2, 2015

Vaccines to protect against an avian influenza pandemic as well as seasonal flu may be mass produced more quickly and efficiently using technology described today by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the ...

We've all got a blind spot, but it can be shrunk

August 31, 2015

You've probably never noticed, but the human eye includes an unavoidable blind spot. That's because the optic nerve that sends visual signals to the brain must pass through the retina, which creates a hole in that light-sensitive ...

Biologists identify mechanisms of embryonic wound repair

August 31, 2015

It's like something out of a science-fiction movie - time-lapse photography showing how wounds in embryos of fruit flies heal themselves. The images are not only real; they shed light on ways to improve wound recovery in ...

New 'Tissue Velcro' could help repair damaged hearts

August 28, 2015

Engineers at the University of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.