(Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash)
The UW School of Medicine is about to launch its first clinical trial on a male contraceptive it has been working on for a decade. Dr. William Bremner, a professor of medicine and co-head of the trial, says it's a gel contraceptive that rubs both shoulders every day.
"We use testosterone in combination with another compound to deactivate the pituitary gland hormones that stimulate the testes and prevent the testes from emitting sperm," said Dr. Bremner. "The bottom line is that you get normal testosterone levels, normal male hormone levels, but they do not produce sperm in their ejaculate. They produce a normal volume of ejaculation, their partners will see no difference in this regard. But there are few sperm swimmers in the ejaculate.
After two or three months, the body has to stop producing sperm and when a man stops using the gel, his sperm will come back a few months later. Dr. Bremner says there is a common misconception that men do not want to control their own fertility.
"It's a common perception that we do not find true. We have no problem to involve men in studies. A large number of surveys have been conducted around the world, in different cultures and religions. About 75% around the world state that they are willing to use a male contraceptive technique if it is effective, safe and at a reasonable price. It is a surprise to many people that just about a third of contraception in the United States is already practiced by male methods. About 15% of all contraception is by condom and the remaining 15% by vasectomy. "
In the small studies done by the UW so far, there do not seem to be any major side effects. Many women do not like hormonal birth control because it affects their mood and their emotions. But the only side effects observed so far by Dr. Bremner are a slight weight gain, muscle gain not fat or acne, but only in men who have had rashes during their teenage years.
He says it would be the first new male contraceptive in about 200 years and the more options we have, the better.
"It turns out that about half of pregnancies are unplanned and that about a quarter are unwanted. You know, there are only three methods available to humans. Or a vasectomy, which is permanent, and a condom that is not very acceptable for some men and couples [and the pull-out method]. So there are not really any great new methods for men to prevent the huge and huge number of unwanted pregnancies internationally. "
This first study will involve 400 couples in the United States, Africa, Europe and South America. If you want to participate in the study, they are looking for people here to participate. Men must be between 18 and 50 years old and between 18 and 35 years old for women.
"They must be a couple who presume to remain monogamous for a year and a half of the study. It's really a couple study. "
If you are interested in participating, call Kathy Winter, Dr. Bremner's Clinic Partner, at 206-616-0484 or email [email protected]