WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A global study is recruiting couples to be paid $4,000 to try out a clear gel for two years to test its effectiveness as a male contraceptive.
- The gel, which contains hormones, will be applied on the man’s shoulder every day to reduce his sperm count.
- However, couples should be willing to have a baby in case the gel doesn’t work.
Couples being sought to take part in an experiment to test a male birth control gel will be paid $4,000 in compensation, CBS Detroit reports.
As part of ongoing global research where 420 couples will try out the gel called NES/T, the University of Kansas Medical Center trial requires each man to rub the gel on their arm or shoulder every day for two years while engaging in regular sex with his partner. The gel which is absorbed into the skin is said to lower the amount of sperm produced. To enter, couples must also be open to the possibility of having a baby just in case the gel fails.
Currently, men have limited options to block sperm while women have countless forms of birth control that often come with complications.
If the gel is found effective and safe, it would serve as the newest male contraceptive since the condom was introduced in the 1800s.
“Men only have a vasectomy and condoms. Now, the world has changed,” said Dr. Ajay Nangia, the lead investigator of the Kansas trial, who added that the gel could help prevent unplanned pregnancies.
The gel was developed over the past decade by a partnership of the non-profit The Population Council and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They have been seeking couples from all over the world including Edinburgh, Manchester, Los Angeles, Washington, Italy and Sweden to test the gel.
Now, KU Medical Centre promises to pay the men $2,985 to show up at the clinic 31 times over two years and the women $1,140 for turning up at the clinic for ten times.
Initially, the couple can use other forms of birth control then try the gel exclusively for about a year once the sperm count of the man is at a low level.
NES/T contains hormones progestin and testosterone which is absorbed into the skin.
Progestin naturally blocks the action of testosterone thereby preventing the testes from producing sperm. Since testosterone contributes to male physical features and libido, the gel also acts as a replacement hormone.
While emerging evidence from other US trials suggests side effects like weight gain, muscle gain and acne, effects are reversible within 3 to 4 months of use and the man’s sperm count goes back to a normal level. The gel does not also lower sex drive, the scientists said.
Despite this, the gel is still expected to be more than 90 percent effective, making it 3 percent more reliable than condoms.
Once the trials are found successful, the contraceptive may become available to couples within 10 years.
Source: Daily Mail Online