Print Edition - 2019-03-21  |  Health and Living

New form of male birth control

  • BIRTH CONTROL

Mar 21, 2019-

For decades, women have shouldered most of the burden of contraception. However, long-term use of female birth control pills could increase the risk for side effects such as blood clots or breast cancer. Now, inspired by cocktails, researchers have developed a medium-term, reversible male contraceptive.

Common forms of male contraception are either short-term (condoms) or long-term (vasectomy). However, condoms can fail, and vasectomies, while effective, are not often reversible. Xiaolei Wang and colleagues wanted to devise a medium-term, reversible form of male contraception. They drew inspiration from cocktails that bartenders make by layering colorful liquids. If the beverage is stirred or heated, the layers combine into a uniform liquid.Researchers wondered if they could use a similar approach to inject layers of materials to block the vas deferens, the duct that conveys sperm from the testicle to the urethra. Applying heat would cause the layers to mix, breaking them down and “unplugging the pipeline.”

The team tested their approach in male rats, which kept them from impregnating females for more than 2 months. However, when the researchers shone a lamp on the rats for a few minutes, the layers mixed and dissolved, allowing the animals to produce offspring. (ScienceDaily)

Published: 21-03-2019 10:00

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