Male contraceptive jab a step closer

A contraceptive pill for men has long been mooted, but many people say they wouldn’t trust a man to take the pill.
However, now a male contraceptive jab could provide the answer to giving men more responsibility over birth control.
In a new trial, the male contraceptive injection has been found to be nearly as effective as the female contraceptive pill.
This could pave the way for couples to be able to choose who has most responsibility for their contraceptive plans. It could also give men more control over stopping potentially unwanted pregnancies.
In this latest research, a total of 350 men were injected with hormones which drastically reduced how much sperm they were making.
However, the medication did lead to some nasty side-effects so the trial was halted early, meaning a lot of fine tuning is still needed.
The men who agreed to take part were all in long-term, stable relationships and used the hormones to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
Their contraception was reported to be almost 96 per cent effective.
Author of the study, and clinical reproductive science professor Richard Anderson, said: “If you’re comparing it to other reversible male methods, it’s far better than the condom and it puts it in the same ballpark as the pill.”
But the treatment led to side effects which including depression, acne and an increased libido.
Twenty men decided they could not continue with the trial, so it was stopped earlier than originally planned.
Men were given two hormones. Progestogen acted on the pituitary gland, effectively turning off production of sperm. Testosterone was added to that to offset a fall in the male hormone because of the progestogen.
The men involved used the jabs alone for birth control, receiving a new injection once every two months.
Out of the men involved, only four of their partners fell pregnant, the same kind of levels as could be expected from the female combined pill and much better than condoms which are only about 82 per cent effective in real life conditions.
However, researchers are no longer enrolling any new participants on this study, which stopped in 2011 because of unwanted side effects.
A total of 1,491 incidents of side effects were reported by men who had the jab. However more than two-thirds of those were said to be totally unrelated to the treatment they were having. This tragically included one suicide.