Researchers have been attempting to create male birth control for many decades; however, much of the progress made in this research has been on long-term, hormonal methods. Examples include injections and implants. According to a study published in Nature, a new form of birth control has shown results in mice. The study says that one injectable dose of a new drug (TDI – 11861) may be able to temporarily pause fertility in male mice. The drug works within 30 to 60 minutes of injection. According to Forbes,”it is also temporary, with efficacy dropping to 91% at three hours and fertility returning to normal by the next day.” Although researchers attempted to use a pill form to administer the drug, they found that they would need an extremely large pill because the stomach breaks down some of the compound.
The injection inhibits soluble adenylyl cyclase. This enzyme is necessary for sperm’s ability to move efficiently and to mature properly. Researchers also tested the drug on human sperm in a lab dish. They showed similarly low levels of efficient movement and maturation. Additionally, the male mice in the study showed normal mating behavior patterns. The only abnormality was that they did not impregnate the female mice.
Unlike many current male contraceptives, this new injectable birth control does not impact sperm development; however, it does decrease sperm motility which essentially makes the sperm producer temporarily infertile. The birth control options on the market for men are pretty limited. Male condoms are only 98% effective, and many may not want to undergo a surgical procedure such as a vasectomy. Additionally, while vasectomies may be reversed, they often have permanent negative effects on fertility. Hormone-based contraceptives for men already exist, but side effects like mood disorders deter many from using them. This new drug is not hormone based, and therefore does not have these side effects.
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With the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, I think the development of a male birth control method is even more critical. I believe that male birth control is one step forward in an equal society, especially considering the fact that women need to deal with unwanted side effects from hormonal birth control. Soluble Adenylyl cyclase plays a role in the cAMP-dependent pathway. During this pathway, a signaling molecule binds to a receptor on the cell surface, leading to the activation of a G protein, thus activating adenylyl cyclase. Adenylyl cyclase produces cAMP from ATP which then serves as another messenger to activate signaling events. Please comment down below if you found this article interesting!