Men will soon have the option of popping "the pill" just like women to prevent conception. The drug will stop sperm production, yet the researchers claim there will not be any side effects and no long-term harm to male fertility. The real questions is, should men believe them?
Scientists have been trying to come up with a male equivalent of the Pill for years, with limited success.
Most of the drugs recently developed are jabs, not pills, and many contain steroids which have damaging side-effects including heart disease and impotence.
So far tests on the male contraceptive pill have only been tested on mice, so scientists have no idea on the long-term effects on humans. Despite a lack of evidence, researchers "feel" the male pill will have no side effects. Of course, we'll find out in a few years time that there are indeed disastrous side-effects but we won't know what they are until the regulatory bodies approve the drug.
The pill, developed by researchers at Columbia University in New York, impairs the male body’s ability to use vitamin A, which is vital for the production of sperm.
Although vitamin A is also crucial for vision, the drug’s developers say it will not affect sight. They also claim a man would start producing sperm again almost as soon as he stopped taking the pill.
The pill uses compounds found in blood pressure and anti-psychotic medications used in the Sixties, which produced the side-effect of ‘dry ejaculation’.
They paralyse certain muscles in the male reproductive system, causing a temporary block of the release of semen while having no adverse effects on libido, sexual performance or sensation — so the man still has an orgasm, but produces no fluid.
As it is still in the early stages of development, its creators do not know how often men would need to take the pill, but they are working extra hard to develop an ultra strength version of the drug that would need to be taken once a week.
"The side effects of the compounds being used to cause 'dry ejaculations' are known, and they certainly would not be desirable for healthy young men seeking to prevent unwanted pregnancies," said Dr. Norman Kelly who runs his own fertility clinic on the outskirts of Berkshire, England.
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.