Big News About Male Birth Control

Scientists may have found a breakthrough on the male birth control front: Blocking sperm transportation may be the basis for a male contraceptive drug, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Previous work focused on cutting production of sperm or rendering it dysfunctional—but those tactics came with side effects like a lower sex drive or infertility. For this study, researchers from Monash University in Australia wanted to see if they could stop sperm ejaculation entirely. To do this, they genetically modified mice to block two proteins—alpha1A-adrenoceptor and P2X1-purinoceptor—that usually signal the brain to move sperm from their storage site in the testicles during climax. Without the proteins present, the sperm stayed put when the mice mated—meaning none of the meals got pregnant. 

Granted, this discovery is still in the very early stages of testing. "To work as a contraceptive, we would need to develop chemicals to block these proteins by pharmacological methods," says study author Sabatino Ventura, senior lecturer at Monash University. If this male birth control were to prove effective for humans, it could take another 10-plus years to hit the market.

In the meantime, check out these other effective birth control options that you can start using now. 

More from Women's Health:
The Morning After Pill Won't Work for Women Over 175 Lbs
Birth Control Can Up Your Risk of WHAT?!
A Major Cause of Unplanned Pregnancies 

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