Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley may have just found a new way to prevent pregnancy, and it’s basically a way less controversial form of male birth control. After testing over 50 forms of chemical compounds, they found two — lupeol and pristimerin — that attack sperm before it ever even gets close to an egg in a woman’s uterus. This is super cool idea, since the emergency contraception pills only work after an egg has been fertilized, which anti-choice politicians consider abortion. This would just prevent the whole fertilization process from happening in the first place, which is why they’re calling it a “universal” form of contraception, since it benefits pretty much everyone.
It’s still a long way from being a reality, but it’s all part of research toward finding a better male birth control method.
“This could be used immediately to make a better and more efficient emergency contraceptive,” study leader and biophysicist Polina Lishko told Wired. “This method is not only 10 times more effective than anything currently on the market, but it clearly prevents fertilization. There’s no embryo at any point.”
This new male birth control might be more appealing to drug companies.
This is a new development, and might be the most successful one yet, since attempts to find a working male contraception are usually abandoned. Except for one called Vasalgel. It’s an injection that doctors would inject into the vas deferens, which is the little tube that sperm travels through from the testicles to the uretha (and then into the dude’s partner or shower drain or whatever). It basically puts up a barrier so that a guy could ejaculate, but the sperm would be filtered out, since they’re too big. The most recent trials of Vasalgel found that it would be effective for up to ten years.
Still, it’s hard to get pharmaceutical companies to get really interested in male birth control, since there are so many ones that are proven to work for women. And apparently, finding a male birth control is a lot harder than it sounds, so it’s crazy expensive. But these scientists think this would be appealing to drug companies, since it would be reversible for men, it’s non-hormonal, and it works way before the sperm reaches an egg, making conservatives happy.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s a pretty big development. Keep working, science, because when it comes to birth control, the world could use as many options as possible.