Male birth control patent in progress


MEL Magazine

A possible patent for male contraceptives.

Scientists at Michigan State University are on their way to having successfully developed an effective male birth control pill using PNLDC1, a material primarily seen in germ cells. The pill will be used to block healthy sperm production for a short time, allowing for the patient to choose the return of healthy sperm production in the future— in other words, a temporary vasectomy.
Chen Chen, assistant professor of animal science at MSU, explained, “More than 500,000 men get vasectomies every year… I think for the general public there is great need in another male contraceptive method.”
PNLDC1, the main ingredient of the male contraceptive pill, has been successfully tested on mice via genetic editing technology. Because mice are mammals, they use similar genes as humans in reproduction, suggesting that PNLDC1 will have similar effects on humans.
One of the main struggles in the fight for male birth control, according to Dr. Jamin V. Brahmbhatt, fertility specialist with Orlando Health, is a lack of investment in male birth control by pharmaceutical companies. This bias can be attributed to insufficient funding, but also to the stigma surrounding men speaking up about contraceptives.
Another hurdle in developing the male pill are the side effects. Early last year, a groundbreaking study of hormone-based male birth control ended early when 20 of the men involved stopped taking the pill due to “mood swings” and other symptoms, such as acne.
“I think there is a stigma surrounding male birth control. There’s a lot of pressure on women to have protection, because they are the ones who get pregnant,” stated Sanderson junior Kevin Diaz-Padilla. “I would be willing to go through the side effects that women go through. We could eat pizza, popcorn, and watch movies together.”
“In truth, the hormonal side effects in men are much less than side effects were for women when the pill was introduced,” says Dr. Stephanie Page, chief of endocrinology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
The world is changing, and so is the stigma surrounding male contraceptives. Maybe the pill will be gender neutral by next year.