Attention men who hate condoms, I have amazing news you’ve been waiting to hear: The male birth control pill is finally here! Well, it’s technically a male birth control gel, but same thing.
According to MIT Technology Review, researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development have been working to develop a topical gel to suppress sperm production, and the gel will begin a four-year clinical trial with over 400 couples starting in April 2018.
So, the gel isn’t exactly ready to hit the market just yet, but the clinical trial is four short months away, which is a massive step forward for such an important pharmaceutical advancement.
The gel contains a mixture of progestin and testosterone, which work together to inhibit sperm creation. The progestin stops the testes from producing enough testosterone to make healthy levels of sperm, and the testosterone is to counteract any hormonal imbalances and ensure your testosterone doesn’t dip too low. And as we all know, without sperm, there’s no baby.
And get this – the gel is super noninvasive, and all you have to do is rub half a teaspoon onto your upper arms and shoulders daily, and hope that it’s enough to keep you from getting your girlfriend pregnant.
“It’s not a lot of effort. It’s just remembering to use it every day,” says Diana Blithe, the program director for contraception development at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
However, let me point out one major catch: Even though the gel will ward off unwanted babies, it will not protect against STDs. Only condoms can protect you from the clap and other unsavory diseases.
“I am very confident that if men put the gel on every day and apply it correctly, it will be effective,” says lead researcher Dr. Stephanie Page, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington.
The gel was previously studied in a 6-month pilot trial back in 2012, and it was found that it effectively reduced sperm counts while maintaining healthy testosterone levels, which is great news. However, the trial did not test the effectiveness of the gel, but luckily, the upcoming trial is going to determine that.
And previously, in 2016, a male birth control injection was studied by the World Health Organization, but the trial was cut short because the injection had way too many side effects, like erectile dysfunction, mood swings, pain, acne, and depression. Not fun.
Researchers believe the gel will have less side effects than the injection, and will likely be limited to occasional acne, which can easily be dealt with.
And so, my friends, we are one giant step closer to finally saying goodbye to condoms forever. Thank you, science.