There’s been plenty of innovation when it comes to fertility-based technologies over the past few decades. One area which hasn’t really changed at all, however, is the choice available to men in terms of male contraceptives. Outside of condoms or vasectomies, options have been practically non-existent. Potentially until now, that is. At the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine, researchers are in the process of launching a clinical trial to test the efficacy of a new male contraceptive gel — and you could be a part of it.
This gel is designed to be applied by men once a day. It is absorbed through the skin by rubbing it into the upper arms and shoulders. Once absorbed, it reduces the overall concentration of sperm to levels intended to negate the risk of pregnancy. It is 100 percent reversible, promises to be affordable, and, as far as studies have shown so far, is entirely safe.
“Everything else remains normal,” Dr. William Bremner, Professor of Medicine at the UW School of Medicine, told Digital Trends. “The man has normal testosterone function and normal sexual function, such as volume and frequency of ejaculate, but doesn’t have any spermatozoa in the ejaculate.”
The gel — referred to as NES/T — is a combination of testosterone and Nestorone. It’s analogous to currently available female contraception methods, such as the combined contraceptive pill, which contains estrogen and a progestin. In the case of NES/T, it turns off the pituitary gland hormone which normally stimulates the testes to produce sperm.
For their study, the UW School of Medicine researchers are seeking couples interested in helping test the gel. Couples who participate will be expected to use NES/T as their sole form of contraception for a full year. You can check out the comprehensive details about eligibility (over the age of 18, with no history of medical issues which may affect reproduction) here. The trial is initially recruiting participants in California, Kansas, and Washington. Later sites will include Chile, England, Italy, Kenya, Scotland, and Sweden. If you’re interested in taking part, you can contact the study’s organizers at 1-206-616-0484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Results of the trial will be published in 2022, after the researchers have time to complete the study and then assemble and analyze their data. Provided all goes well, hopefully it won’t be too long before NES/T is made available to whoever wants it.