Couples have been recruited for a trial of what will hopefully be the most effective form of contraception for men ever created.
Contraception is one of those important things that almost all of us use on a regular basis but we don't talk about it nearly enough. There are so many forms of it out there and all of them have their pros and cons. Condoms are the most widely used form of contraception. However, not that we want to scare you, but did you know condoms are only about 82% effective?
Granted, that is still a pretty high number, but not to someone who is trying to avoid becoming a new mom or dad any time soon. After condoms, the weight of having to use contraception is pretty much placed on women. The pill, an implant, a diaphragm. All of them are varying in their effectiveness, and also can come with some unwanted side effects.
Fear not ladies, and men for that matter. A trial of a new contraceptive gel is about to get underway in the UK, and it's a gel that is aimed at men. 80 couples are taking part in the trial of a gel that will need to be applied to the upper arms and shoulders daily, reports The Guardian. Seems like a pretty weird place to apply a gel considering that desired effect you want it to have, but let us explain.
The gel contains a hormone that will effectively send the man's testes to sleep. The men included in the trial will return for tests once a month in the hope that researchers will discover their sperm count is dropping. The gel is called NES/T and works very similarly to the female contraceptive pill. It should effectively tell the brain to stop producing sperm, but also contains testosterone so that the user's libido and hormone levels will remain unaffected.
As promising as all of this sounds, we likely have a while to wait until the gel becomes readily available. Researchers will monitor the users' sperm counts until they drop to almost zero, and then continue to monitor them for a year after that. Once that is done, the quest begins to bring the sperm counts back up to normal. That's one of the main reasons the trial is taking place. Plus, to monitor if the gel has any side effects, of course.