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Scientists say male contraceptive pill ‘a step closer’

Birth control for men is a ‘step closer’, according to researchers in the US

 

Experts say they are extremely close to making a safe contraceptive for men, according to scientists from the University of Minnesota College.

Dr Gunda Georg, head of the research, said there are a number of barriers to overcome before such a drug can reach the market.

She added: “It would have to be soluble so it could be taken by mouth.

“It would start working fairly quickly and it wouldn’t diminish libido. It would be safe even if taken for decades.”

The form of contraception would render men temporarily infertile without any short or long-term side effects.

Dr Georg added: “And because some users would eventually want to have children, its impact on fertility would be reversible, with no lingering ill effects on sperm or embryos.”

The female contraceptive pill was introduced in the UK on the NHS in 1961.

Initially it was only for married women but that only lasted until 1967 and is now taken by 3.5 million women in Britain between the ages of 16 and 49.

It comes in 32 different forms and is taken by around 100 million women worldwide.

The pill works by thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching the egg, stopping the uterus lining from thickening and making it difficult for a fertilised egg to become implanted in the womb.

Since the introduction of the female pill, there have been a number of health scares, with some research suggesting possible links to breast cancer, strokes, heart attack and blood clots.

So, the big question is, would men take a contraceptive?

According to a survey in 2011, more than half of women would not trust their partner to remember to take it.

The research by Anglia Ruskin University found one in five men would definitely not use a male pill, with around one in six saying that they felt taking a contraceptive was culturally associated with women and would make them feel less masculine.

Only half of couples said they might use the contraceptive method when it comes on to the market.

For more details on contraception, visit: www.nhs.uk

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