There are seven billion people who walk the globe. What's more is 50 percent of pregnancies are unplanned. There are now several new contraception choices that may soon be approved and these particular ones are geared toward men.
When Natasha Stump and her husband decided they didn't want to have any more kids Natasha's husband told her a vasectomy was out of the question.
"He's a man,” says Natasha Stump. “He didn't want any pain."
But what if there were other options? Researchers so far have found male birth control pills to be effective for some men and not others for unknown reasons. And side effects can include weight gain, acne, depression and possible heart problems.
Still there are other promising forms of male contraception on the verge of getting approved.
"The testosterone gels and progestin gels, those combinations are probably the ones that hold the most promise as of now," explains Dr. Zamip Patel of Florida Hospital.
"Every day you use a small amount, you put it on the abdomen and also on the arms," describes Dr. Christina Wang the Lead Researcher at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.
Dr. Christina Wang says the gel works much like female birth control without a lot of side effects.
"It delivers a constant level of hormones," says Dr. Wang.
Dr. Wang says it's also reversible, taking men three to six months to regain fertility.
Non-hormonal contraceptives are also on the horizon, like therapeutic ultrasound commonly used to relieve injured joints with heat.
"We really think that men deserve to have more choices when it comes to contraception," says Dr. James Tsuruta Asst. Professor of Pediatrics at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Research led by Doctor James Tsuruta showed by rotating high-frequency ultrasound around the testes, they could kill most of the sperm- cells in rats in just two 15 minutes sessions. Another set of researchers showed the technique also worked in primates and was reversible.
Finally, what about a reversible vasectomy?
The procedure called RISUG takes about 15 minutes with a doctor. It is effective after about three days and lasts for 10 or more years. It requires a one-time injection of a harmless gel into the duct that transfers sperm. The solution deactivates the sperm and is reversible with a second injection.
"Yeah definitely much better than getting snipped," says Rob Strandberg.
RISUG is in advanced clinical trials in India, and could be widely available in the U.S. in three years. Now the question remains if men will use it.
Researcher's eyes are also on a plant based pill from Indonesia that could offer a natural non-hormonal option.
GENDER BENDER: MALE CONTRACEPTION
MALE CONTRACEPTION OF THE PAST: In the past, the typical male contraceptives included chemicals extracted from plants, as well as using heat to suppress spermatogenesis (the process of sperm cell development). These plant chemicals include Neem tree oil, papaya seeds, hemp seeds, and Gossyplium extracted from the cotton plant. These chemicals prevent sperms from fertilizing an egg by interfering with sperm concentration, motility and viability. (Source: http://malecontraception.nujigroup.com/)
"THE PILL" FOR MEN: The "Bright" Pill, although still a molecule undergoing research, is a form of oral contraception for men used to inhibit sperm genesis. This pill would inhibit the synthesis of certain proteins in sperm development and would be able to stay inside the sperm when it gets ejected into the female reproductive tract. So far, it has only been proven to disturb sperm motility in experimental lab rats. (Source: http://malecontraception.nujigroup.com/)
HIGH HOPES FOR RISUG: RISUG stands for "Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance." The drug both partially blocks the vas deferens and damages sperm cells that pass through it. Because of the electrostatic force created by this electrolytic substance, the sperm that are able to pass through have broken cell membranes, leaving the gametes incapable of attaching to an egg cell. RISUG is in Phase II trials in India and in February 2010 it was approved for trials in the United States. 60 mg has been deemed the therapeutic dose for injection, and no pregnancies have been reported in 1-3 years of study. (Source: http://malecontraception.nujigroup.com/)
WILL ULTRASOUND BE ULTRA EFFECTIVE? When ultrasound waves pass through an aqueous medium into the testes, they heat the testes and create an ionic exchange between the seminiferous tubules and the rest of the testes. This combined effect creates an unfavorable environment for sperm and the effect lasts for about 6 months until the human recovers. The process is painless and takes around 10-15 minutes, and it has been shown to be effective in dogs, cats, and monkeys, and humans in clinical trials. The major concern is that every patient has a different recovery period and there is no evidence that recovery will continue to occur after extended treatment. (Source: http://malecontraception.nujigroup.com/)
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