Originally published on July 5, 2012, on bedsider.org.
Could it be that, finally, after all these years, a new birth control method for dudes is on the scene? Kinda sounds like, it based on recent headlines, but we’re not popping any corks quite yet (pun totally intended). The last thing we want to do is rain on a birth-control-related parade, but it will be years before the average Joe can actually use this newfangled birth control gel.
The study that’s been capturing so much press was carried out by a large team of researchers, with 99 men in Seattle and Los Angeles who volunteered to test the new gel. The researchers found that men who put the gel—which contains testosterone and progestin—on their skin every day had low sperm counts. How low? Experts think it’s low enough to provide 99 percent effective birth control. But since this was an early study, all the guys and their partners used another method of birth control in addition to the gel, just in case, so we don’t know for sure exactly how effective the gel would be when used on its own.
Don’t get us wrong—there’s plenty to be excited about:
But the gel isn’t ready for prime-time yet. Just under 90 percent of the volunteers had the target low sperm count—the other 10 percent didn’t respond well, and researchers are still working on understanding why. Only about 60 percent of the volunteers in the study made it through at least 5 months of the study. It’s not clear why the others dropped out—for that, we have to wait for rest of the study results to be published. In any case, the gel needs more studies and a review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it’ll get anywhere near the market.
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