Male Contraceptive on the Horizon? Reducing Fertility By Suppressing Testosterone

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on March 17th, 2024
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Though female contraception has been an option for generations, there still are no options available for men to artificially suppress fertility.

Of course, condoms are available, but the success rate for condoms does leave something to be desired.

Condoms are only around 85% effective per year. Vasectomies are an option, but the intensiveness of the procedure turns many men off. In the coming years, it is expected that an HRT Option for male contraception will become available.

Some research facilities are working to create a new male form of contraception, primarily modeled after the Birth Control Pills used with great success by women.

Christina Wang and Stephanie Page are working on a new Hormone Suppressing Medication that may help men prevent pregnancy in pill form.

Like women, men are interested in consequence-free sexual activity. In spite of that, contraception has primarily been the woman's job in a relationship.

A big part of the reason is that there is such a lack of viable options for male contraception.

Male Birth Control Pill In Clinical Testing

Though options are slim now, medical advances will likely provide new avenues for male contraception in the coming years.

Page and Wang are investigating the effectiveness of a potential Male Pill called Dimethandrolone Undecanoate, abbreviated DMAU.

This Androgen derivative suppresses fertility by drastically lowering Testosterone Production. Regular administration of DMAU pushes Testosterone Production down to pre-pubertal levels. Think of it as a temporary chemical castration.

Of course, Testosterone is responsible for a lot of other things than fertility. To take DMAU alone would lead to a variety of issues that could impair male health and masculinity.

Testosterone is vital to preserving body composition, psychological wellness, energy level, and even body hair distribution. Fortunately, there are synthetic relatives of Testosterone which can support these other essential functions of Testosterone without affecting fertility.

By pairing a synthetic androgen with DMAU, it should be possible to safely induce infertility while still preserving masculinity in all its other forms.

The final goal of a male birth control pill is for it to be more effective than condoms and less invasive than a Vasectomy.

The end goal is to limit fertility in the present while allowing it to be quickly reversed in the future. Restoring fertility should be as easy as going off the pill.

The first phase of the clinical trial involved 83 patients. The experiment was successful enough to warrant further study, and researchers Wang and Page are preparing DMAU for a larger FDA trial over the course of the coming months.

Subjects will receive 200-400 mg of DMAU daily, and participants will range from 18-50 years of age.

The first phase of the Clinical Trial was a proof-of-concept. DMAU successfully led to Testosterone suppression in men.

The next step in the study will be broader and will monitor both sperm count and Testosterone Levels to assess the potential effectiveness of DMAU as birth control.

Why Has It Taken So Long to Invent Male Birth Control?

You may find it surprising that it has taken so long to come up with a viable form of male contraception in pill form. Men have been interested in limiting fertility for thousands of years, but treatments are just now reaching fruition.

A big issue is that pharmaceutical companies have been reluctant to pursue the Male Pill. On the other hand, there is a more significant issue at hand—It's just easier to provide women with contraception than men on a mechanical, physiological level.

For women, you only have to prevent ovulation, which occurs once per month. With men, every orgasm spills millions of sperm, all with the potential to lead to fertilization. That means that it's going to take a lot more finesse to suppress male fertility without unwanted side-effects.

Side-Effects of Male Birth Control

One of the significant problems with male birth control is that previous attempts to invent it have led to side-effects which led to dead ends. For example, earlier iterations of Male Birth Control led to liver damage.

This newest version of Male Birth Control appears viable but does have some side-effects.

In the preliminary trial, patients were more likely to gain weight, and the pill also had a mild, adverse effect on HDL Cholesterol Levels.

Of course, the Birth Control Pill for women is not without its risks, including a heightened risk of depression, cervical cancer, and high blood pressure.

When Male Birth Control hits the market, guys will inevitably have to weigh the risks and benefits just like women do today.

How Soon Could We See Male Birth Control On the Market?

It's important to recognize that FDA-Approval can be a long and arduous process, especially for medications that aren't for life-threatening conditions.

DMAU still has years to go before it can eventually reach the market, and it needs funding. Pharmaceutical Industry has been slow to invest in Male Contraception, which has hindered the process.

Previous versions of Male Birth Control have been more invasive, which led many drug manufacturers to be wary of pursuing them. One practical option required a scrotal injection, for example.

The fact that DMAU is an oral supplement that is easy to administer plays in its favor. Perhaps, in the coming years, DMAU will be the first Male Birth Control Pill to hit the market.

Researchers are as optimistic as they can reasonably be!

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