The male contraceptive pill has been in and out of the news for some time now. Men have debated about whether they’d use it, women about whether they’d have their partners use it - but we’re still not quite sure how it works, or when we’ll be able to get it.
Well, thanks to a recent breakthrough, the male pill could be here a bit sooner than we thought.
Researchers at Wolverhampton University and Portuguese scientists have created a pill which is taken just before having sex can be effective for days afterwards, working by stopping sperm being able to swim.
It does this using ‘designer compounds’ which smuggle themselves into sperm, and stop their tails from wiggling.
Unlike the female contraceptive pill, it both acts and wears off fast - the pill or nasal spray could be taken hours or even minutes just before sex, and scientists believe it could wear off within days.
So unlike women who take the contraceptive pill, who are advised to stop taking it weeks before they want to start trying for a baby, men could just wait for a few days before becoming fertile again.
Lead researcher Professor John Howl of Wolverhampton University told Mail Online that thanks to a £175,000 Portuguese grant, they hope to start live animal tests in the next two to three years, after which it usually takes three to five years for a drug to hit the market.
In other words, it could be available from around 2021.
Many are looking forward to the male pill’s arrival, which will expand men’s options for preventing pregnancy (currently condoms or a vasectomy) and offer alternative options for women who don’t wish to - or are unable to - take the female pill.
Though others question whether women would feel comfortable with men taking the pill as the sole form of protection, as after all, it’s a little like one person taking medicine for something that’ll affect another person’s body - and many women know how difficult it is taking their own pill every day on time themselves.
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