Melbourne scientists have made a breakthrough in the development of a male contraceptive pill that could be on the market within ten years.
A team from Monash University used genetically-modified mice to trial a drug that blocks two proteins that are essential for sperm to travel through the male reproductive organs.
Lead researcher Dr Sab Ventura says it effectively renders the males temporarily infertile.
The mice had sex normally, but no sperm was ejaculated.
“It would block the transport of sperm and then if you’re a young guy and you get to the stage where you wanted to start fathering children, you stop taking it and everything should be okay,” he said.
“It would be like an oral medication probably taken daily just like the female contraceptive pill.”
Other attempts to develop a contraceptive for men have centred on making the sperm dysfunctional, sparking concerns about whether the procedure could be reversed.
But Dr Ventura says the sperm is still produced normally in their technique.
“It doesn’t affect any hormones and it doesn’t affect the development of the sperm. So you shouldn’t get any long-term side effects or any effects on offspring later on if you want to reverse it,” he said.
“There’s already a drug on the market for one of the proteins we want to block, which is used in the treatment of prostate disease.”
He says they just have to develop a drug to block the other protein and if that worked, a contraceptive pill for men could be on the market within ten years.