Male contraceptives have traditionally been limited to condoms or vasectomy. However, this solution was not ideal, for many reasons. Now scientists have demonstrated a promising new method – they have developed a pill that can be taken immediately before sex, and this will significantly reduce fertility for 24 hours.
But a new drug developed by scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine appears to solve all of these problems. It works by targeting a protein called soluble adenylate cyclase (sAC), which is vital for sperm function. This makes the drug an sAC inhibitor, and we’re not sure if this pun is intended or not. Previous research had shown that mice and men naturally lacking the sAC gene were infertile but otherwise healthy, so the team set out to find out if blocking it works like a contraceptive.
In the trial, the scientists gave male mice a single dose of an sAC inhibitor called TDI-11861 and released them along with the females. The inevitable happened, but even after 52 mating attempts, not a single female mouse became pregnant. In contrast, the control group fertilized about a third of the females.
If these results extend to humans, the new method holds great promise. The pills can be taken once or daily, and the team found no negative effects after continuously injecting the mice with drugs for six weeks.
This flexibility makes the new method more attractive than other experimental male contraceptives , which can take weeks to reduce or restore fertility.