The new Obamacare laws that went into effect this month is helping many women nationwide rejoice for free or low-cost birth control. Could you envision the same happening for men? In a matter of one year, the scenario may just be possible now that scientists have discovered a new compound that could potentially be developed into a male version of oral contraception.
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine published in the journal Cell today about the compound JQ1 that acts as an inhibitor to making sperm cells mature. The compound is able to disrupt the sperm production process by binding the BRDT protein required to make sperm cells fertile.
“Our findings demonstrate that, when given to rodents, this compound produces a rapid and reversible decrease in sperm count and mobility with profound effects on fertility,” said Dr. James Bradner, the paper’s senior author. Basically speaking, JQ1 will help men produce less sperm, and the ones that are produced won’t be as mobile, therefore unlikely to successfully impregnate a female egg cell. The process is also reportedly reversible; when JQ1 is no longer introduced to the body, males should revert back to producing viable sperm cells.
Possible side effects of the JQ1-laced male contraceptive are minimal for now. Scientists say the only significant outcome is mild weight loss, which might not necessarily be a negative impact for most men. Sex drive is also unaffected as the tested mice did not show signs of reduced testosteron levels.
“These findings suggest that a reversible, oral male contraceptive may be possible,” Dr. Bradner said. “While we will be conducting more research to see if we can build on our current findings, JQ1 shows initial promise as a lead compound for male contraception.”
The male oral contraceptive with the JQ1 compound still has a lot of researches to go before scientists can develop a formula fit to test on human. Possible forms of intake can include edible pills or injection. Researchers anticipate that within a year, human trials may be underway, paving a new form of contraceptive fit for the gender-equal world. The question now is whether or not men will actually remember to take the pills in a timely fashion.
Watch Dr. Bradner discuss his findings in the video below.