A male contraceptive may be on it’s way after researchers found a way to enable men with low sperm motility to get their semen moving. It sounds contradictory of what a contraceptive should do, but researchers believe once they have designed a treatment to help infertile men, they will be able to create a treatment to do the opposite.
Dr Sarah Jones of the University of Wolverhampton explained, “We are basically designing peptides that can alter the physiology of sperm.
“Ironically, sperm are notoriously difficult to penetrate, but with cell-penetrating peptides we are now able to cross an otherwise impermeable barrier to manipulate the intracellular biology of sperm so as to enhance or inhibit motility. We hope to develop something that will be clinically useful and can be taken forward in the future.”
The study has been lead by Dr Jones and Professor John Howl who have looked into cell-penetrating peptides. They have found it’s possible to design them so that when they enter the sperm cell, they can target certain proteins that can prevent the cell from swimming. Tests with bovine sperm and human sperm in Portugal found the peptides could reduce a sperm’s motility within minutes.
This research could create a male contraceptive in the form of a pill, an implant or nasal spray that men can use to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The contraceptive would need to be taken a couple of hours before sex and it’s effects would last a few days after.
If the male contraceptive is found to be productive, it will revolutionise the contraceptive industry. The responsibility for contraception currently rests on women who need to take the pill or have an implant of some sort to prevent ovulation. Some women are unable to take certain contraceptives due to health reasons.
Condoms are the only option a male has in taking responsibility for contraception. A male contraceptive would be a welcome option.
The question needs to be asked though, are women confident in allowing their mate sole responsibility with contraception? Should men have more accountability and obligation when it comes to contraception?
Men have had to trust their partners with the current contraceptives available, so can women offer the same confidence to their man?
We’d love to hear what you think in the comments.