Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Male contraceptive pill (and nasal spray) could be here by 2021

iStock_29626508_LARGE.jpg

A major contraceptive breakthrough could radically change how we manage birth control as soon as five years from now.

British scientists have discovered a fast-acting peptide that temporarily immobilises sperm and raises the possibility of a male pill, implant - or even a nasal spray - being available by 2021.

"The results are startling - and almost instant," lead researcher, Wolverhampton University's Professor John Howl, told the The Mail On Sunday. "When you take healthy sperm and add our compound, within a few minutes the sperm basically cannot move."


Read more: Hilarious (and worrying) old-school contraceptive ads


The British team worked with Portuguese researchers to recreate the effects of low-motility sperm and came up with a compound called a cell-penetrating peptide, which pauses the movement of sperm and therefore prevents the fertilisation of eggs. They said the sperm-blocking effects wear off within days.

sperm

A new male contraceptive pill could act to 'block' sperm instantly

While preventing pregnancy is generally accepted as a joint responsibility, the lack of male contraceptive options means it is a burden that often falls on women, with a third of British adult females currently taking the pill. As well as redressing this imbalance, a male contraceptive pill would provide more choice to couples in which the woman can't take the pill for medical reasons.


Read more: Women on the pill 'may be at increased risk of depression'


Women in Britain have had access to oral birth control since 1961, though officially it was only available to married women until 1974. Its accessibility heralded a sexual revolution and a transfer of control over reproductive rights from men to women at a time when the move to dismantle gender inequality was making huge strides. Abortion was legalised in 1967, followed in 1970 by the inception of the Equal Pay Act and in 1975 by the Sex Discrimination Act.

While gender equality has advanced light years since the pill was made available, male contraception has remained confined to condoms and vasectomies - this breakthrough could even out the management of family planning between men and women.

Related

halloweenbeautytout.jpg

31 killer beauty looks for Halloween

downton abbey musical.jpg

Are you ready for Downton Abbey: The Musical?

comme-de-garcons-rei-kawakubo-met-gala-2.jpg

The Met Gala 2017 theme will bring some serious high-fashion weirdness

More

Instagram has fallen in love with heart-shaped succulents

The millennial houseplant obsession continues

by Helen Brown
25 Sep 2017

How many of our favourite First Dates couples are still together?

Here’s a look at the couples living happily ever after…

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Sep 2017

The sad reason this type of rescue dog is the most overlooked

Open your hearts, people

by Amy Swales
25 Sep 2017

What is diabulimia? The dangerous disorder in need of a spotlight

A lack of awareness means sufferers could be flying under the radar

by Amy Swales
25 Sep 2017

This is how your friends’ bad moods can affect your own mental health

A new study sheds light on how we ‘pick up’ emotions from our friends

by Moya Crockett
25 Sep 2017

Women have a new word for that annoying thing your male colleague does

Forget mansplaining: there's a new word in town

by Helen Brown
25 Sep 2017

Will & Grace fans, Debra Messing's character has changed in a big way

And we’re on board

by Susan Devaney
25 Sep 2017

Instagram creates automatic Facebook post saying “I will rape you”

How to win friends and influence people?

by Moya Crockett
25 Sep 2017

This Netflix horror about ghostly ex revenge is perfect Halloween TV

This looks absolutely terrifying

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Sep 2017

Sign up to our mouth-watering food and drink email

24 Sep 2017