POPPING PILLS AND PLUGGING THE PLUMBING
Here are some alternative ideas for male contraception coming down the pipeline…
Gendarussa (also known as gandarusa) is a compound from the Chinese Justicia gendarussa plant, which is thought to disrupt fertilisation. It’s currently being tested in small trials in Indonesia to see whether it is safe and effective. Another potential contraceptive is pristimerin, which comes from an ancient medicinal herb known as the thunder god vine.
Vas- occlusion techniques physically block sperm from moving along the vas deferens – the tube that transports them from the testes to the penis – by using injectable polymers that can be reversed at a later date by injecting a ‘dissolver’ chemical or using ultrasound. The best-known of these techniques is called Vasalgel, which has been successfully tested in monkeys and is expected to move forward into clinical trials shortly.
CLEAN SHEETS PILL
An experimental drug that paralyses the muscles which squeeze sperm out of the vas deferens, resulting in a ‘dry’ orgasm. It’s being developed by Nnaemeka Amobi, formerly a researcher at King’s College London, but has stalled due to lack of funding.
JQ1 was initially developed as a drug that specifically targets a faulty molecule that drives a rare type of cancer called NUT midline carcinoma. But it also stops sperm from developing properly by blocking a molecule that is essential for packaging up DNA inside sperm.
Sperm production depends on a steady supply of retinoic acid, a chemical produced when vitamin A is broken down in the body. Controlling how retinoic acid is produced and used in the testes, perhaps by blocking the enzymes that break down vitamin A, could lead to new ideas for male contraceptives.