Male birth control pills have been an urban myth for years. But now, they might finally be a realty. On Wednesday, a team of scientists reported that they had developed a contraceptive in male mice that was 99% effective.
Researchers have been trying to create a birth control that would affect men the same way it does women. The problem with this approach was that, due to the targeting of testosterone, men were likely to experience depression, weight gain and an increase risk for heart disease.
The new method is non-hormonal, targeting a protein in the body that can block out the making of sperm. The method had no adverse side effects, finding that the mice were equally active and hungry as they were before. The effects were also temporary, with mice being able to get mice pregnant four weeks after they stopped taking the compound.
The team hopes to start human trials at some point in 2022. “There is no guarantee that it will work…but I would really be surprised if we didn’t see an effect in humans as well,” said Professor Gunda Georg.
Birth control has long been an controversial issue of responsibility, landing squarely on female partners. If this method were to come to fruition, it would provide couples with more options for birth control, allowing them to find a method that works best for them as a couple.