Researchers have developed a new male contraceptive gel that will empower men to become more involved in family planning. At least that’s the idea, anyway!

Sounds promising, but would you trust a topical gel as your only form of contraception? And would you feel comfortable leaving the family planning to your fella?

We’re not so sure, but we are super keen to find out more.

Researchers at the Population Council, in collaboration with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have developed an easy-to-use, contraceptive method controlled by men.

According to the Population Council, studies suggest that women would welcome a male contraceptive. Yet currently men have no contraceptive options other than getting a vasectomy or using condoms.

So while it takes two to tango, the issue of contraception lands largely in the lap of us ladies.

Yet the need for effective and reversible methods of male contraception has been well recognised for a long time. So what’s been the issue?

It seems that finding a method that adequately reduces sperm count while maintaining testosterone levels in the normal range has been a little tricky. But guess what? Nestorone®/Testosterone gel, the first-of-its-kind contraceptive for men, appears to tick all the boxes.

Studies showed that the contraceptive gel successfully suppressed sperm while maintaining healthy testosterone levels. And this means minimised side effects such as lower libido, acne and weight gain, as well as altered cholesterol levels. #winning

man applying male contraceptive gel to shoulder

So how does this contraceptive gel work, exactly?

The contraceptive gel, which is a combination of progesterone and testosterone, is applied topically – to the man’s back and shoulders.

The ingredients are absorbed through the skin and enter directly into the bloodstream.

And while the progesterone stops sperm production, the additional testosterone counteracts any drop in hormone levels, meaning users should continue to have a normal sex drive.

So it’s win-win for those who want to get jiggy, without the fear of pregnancy.

Slap your gel on and let’s get down to business

Keen to give this new male contraceptive gel a whirl? Hang fire eager beaver; studies into the effectiveness of the new hormone gel (on real men, not rats) are just getting started.

An international trail will see 450 couples use Nestorone®/Testosterone gel (or NES/T, as it’s being referred to) as their only form of contraception for the next 12 months.

One of the researchers behind the study, Dr. Cheryl Fitzgerald, said the current study was going “very well”. Although she added that following this existing study, there would need to be a much bigger study. This means we could be looking at another 10 years before the new male contraceptive gel hits the market. Say, what?

Couple under bed covers with condom, male contraception

Where are we at with the male contraceptive pill?

It’s been talked about for a long time, but it’s not yet become available. However, earlier this year scientists in America successfully completed a trial of the new male contraceptive pill on humans.

As part of the study, 40 men took the pill daily for a month, with 10 of the men picked at random taking a placebo. The results showed that average testosterone levels dropped as low as androgen deficiency but there were also a few side effects.

Men reported fatigue, acne and headaches. Some men also reported a slight decrease in sex drive. Despite all the men passing the follow-up safety trials, more research is needed.

Sounds like it’s back to the labs then.

At Mum Central, we remain optimistic that a safe, effective and reversible method of male contraception will eventually become a reality.

Problem is, it’s looking like it’s still several years away–by which time we probably won’t even be feeling like sex!

Author

Leanne is Mum Central's Editor-in-Chief. A former Sydneysider, she turned her ideas of a sea change into reality and now lives with her family in beautiful South-West WA. A lover of yoga and travel, like most mums, she’s on a quest to create a better work-life balance. When she’s not pulling socks out from behind the sofa or sponging little hand prints off the walls, she’s in the kitchen trying to dream up exciting lunch box ideas for her three cheeky monkeys.

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