The first male birth control pill, which has shown significant results in lab trials, could begin human testing before the end of the year.
As both Gizmodo and New Scientist highlighted this week, the non-hormonal pill was shown in early research to have “plummeted” the sperm count of subjects (i.e. mice) for up to six weeks, without side effects. To achieve this, University of Minnesota graduate student Md Abdullah al Noman and a team of researchers administered the treatment on a daily basis for four weeks, ultimately finding that the pill showed 99 percent effectiveness in terms of pregnancy prevention.
Per Noman, clinical trials will stand as the “definitive test” for the pill’s safety. Current data, however, “looks promising.” Mentioned amid reports this week is Noman and fellow researchers having licensed the hopeful pill to YourChoice Therapeutics. The private company focuses on achieving the self-described goal of “revolutionizing birth control options for women and men” by making non-hormonal contraception options.
If current plans hold, the stated expectation is that clinical trials in humans can begin later this year. Of note here, however, is that prior efforts to get a male contraceptive into the hands of the general public have stalled at the human trials level. In 2016, for example, a widely publicized study of a hormone-focused candidate was brought to an end after (among other things) an independent safety board expressed concerns
A male contraceptive gel, which is rubbed on the shoulder daily, is also in clinical trials at present. (A gel-based birth control for women was approved in 2020.).