Scientists at the Manchester Royal Infirmary conducted tests on a potential new contraceptive option for men.
A group of 23 volunteers took a pill containing varying levels of the hormone progesterone and wore a testosterone patch on their skin that is similar to nicotine patches. The pills were designed to block sperm production, and the testosterone patches serve to maintain the men’s sex drive.
The semen of men who took pills with either moderate or high levels of progesterone showed no active sperm after about three months of the pill/patch regimen. When men discontinued their use of the patch and pill, their sperm counts “gradually returned to normal,” according to a report issued by the British Endocrine Societies.
Researcher Dr. Frederick Wu said the new contraceptive technique may someday allow men to take greater responsibility for contraception. Family Planning Association head Anne Weyman commented on the recent study, saying, “We welcome it because it provides another choice for couples. But they are talking five or six years before the final product is available.”
Prior tests of the progesterone/testosterone combination administered the hormones via injection.