Tuesday, 5 May 2009
HEALTH : SCIENTISTS INCH CLOSER TO ' MALE CONTRACEPTIVE ' PILL
BEIJING: Chinese researchers are on track to create an effective male contraceptive jab with none of the usual side effects, a development that would revolutionize family planning. The testosterone injection works by temporarily halting sperm production by reducing levels of two regulatory brain chemicals.
Previous attempts to develop an effective and convenient male contraceptive have encountered problems over reliability and side-effects, such as mood swings and a lowered sex drive. The study, which will appear in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, was backed by the World Health Organisation.
Researchers were able to achieve a 99 per cent success rate by injecting men with testosterone in a trial that they claim is the largest so far conducted anywhere in the world. The latest research, conducted at the National Research for Family Planning in Beijing, injected 1,000 healthy, fertile male patients with a testosterone-based jab over a two-year period and found only 1 per cent went on to father a child, The Independent newspaper reported today.
"For couples who cannot or prefer not to use only female-oriented contraception, options have been limited to vasectomy, condom and withdrawal," said Dr Yi-Qun Gu, the lead researcher. "Our study shows a male hormonal contraceptive regime may be a potential, novel and workable alternative," he was quoted as saying by the British daily.