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Hormone Strategy Eyed for Male Contraceptive



How would male contraceptive work?

Many couples feel dissatisfied with modern  male contraceptive methods currently available. Modern male contraceptives are limited to condoms, a vasectomy or trusting the withdrawal method. They worry that these methods are either irreversible or not reliable. The basics of male contraception relies on the principals that production of sperm can be inhibited using androgen or androgen-progestagen treatments, similar to the way in which ovulation is controlled or stopped. Using these treatments it is possible to cause azoospermin (no sperm when ejaculation occurs) or oligozoospermia (less than three million sperm in a millilitre of ejaculate). This is fine for contraceptive purposes. At the moment, a large phase III study is being undertaken in China to examine androgen treatment and a phase II study of androgen-progestagen is being done in Europe.


Are men willing to take male hormone contraceptives?

Contraceptives for women have side effects and can be costly so women are definitely interested in handing over responsibility to their male partners. Men have expressed willingness to use and get treatment for male fertility control contraceptives. As long as they pose little or no risk and safety is key in clinical trials.
The National Center for Health Statistics published data recently which claims that only sixty five children out of every hundred fathered over five years had been planned. A quarter were ´mis-timed´ and nine percent were unwanted. Fifteen hundred American males were quizzed last year and almost fifty percent said they would be happy to try male contraception if results indicated it was safe. Some would prefer a daily contraceptive pill and others thought a contraceptive subcutaneous implant would be a preferred contraceptive method. Just twelve percent were unhappy with the concept and burden of male contraception.

Male contraceptive studies and research

A new medical study claims that an efficacious hormonal contraceptive for men could be launched relatively soon. Injections of DMPA (a progesterone) every three months and daily applications of a testosterone gel would almost totally suppress sperm production clinical trials have shown. Dr Stephanie T Page medical researcher from the University of Washington and her team have medically studied the effects of testosterone gel used in daily medical application in combination to lasting DMPA injections. The medical trial was conducted on forty four men, ages between eighteen and fifty five. A few of the volunteers were given acyline every two weeks together with the other treatment, acyline is a potent suppressor of the production of testosterone.
Throughout the twenty four week trial, the men gave bi-monthly samples of sperm  and were examined every month for thirty six weeks.
The results of clinical trials for male hormone contraceptives?

The findings were that all volunteers showed extreme spermatogenesis suppression (production of sperm, according to the statement in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Adding acyline did not seem to suppress the sperm production any more.
There have been no side effects demonstrated with the testosterone gel, although long term effects can not be known yet and will need to be evaluated, in a similar manner to how female contraceptives were. The lipid effects in the study of male contraceptives were small but if the serum lipids were altered over the course of several years, the results could be different. It is also important to find out about possible effects on the prostate. No side effects were shown in this study but it was only short term.
The study showed DMPA used with testosterone gel to be effective, although sperm counts were used, not the result of actual pregnancy itself.


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