Women have long since been tasked with the responsibility of contraception but that may soon change. Scientists are hard at work on creating a pill that men can take, which would an alternative to condoms and the ever-invasive sperm "on/off" switch.
According to Vice, researchers at the University of Minnesota revealed a breakthrough that could finally lead to a male birth control pill. During an announcement at the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Diego, Dr. Gunda Georg and her team discussed their approach to working on a solution that didn’t focus on hormones.
"The research on hormonal methods of male birth control involving testosterone has been going on for decades, but nothing has come to market," she said. "We're now focusing on non-hormonal approaches." This is due to the fact that testosterone treatments don’t work for about 20 percent of males and might come with a few side effects including weight gain and a decrease in "good cholesterol," a press release on the project read.
The researchers have now diverted their attention to three receptors (alpha, beta and gamma) in men which determine fertility. In a study conducted on animals with a deficiency in the alpha receptor, researchers found that they were pretty healthy and determined that the receptor was solely for creating sperm. Theoretically, recreating the same treatment in humans could mean the male equivalent of the female birth control pill.
The team is now joining forces with the pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb to bring that pill to life, Vice reports. While it’s still in development, Georg remains hopeful. "Everything indicates that we're on the right track with this new approach."
What a time to be alive.