Researchers have been trying to formulate the best male contraceptive for decades now. Unfortunately, studies have been inconclusive because unlike women, who produce just one egg per month, men are constantly generating sperm every single day. Finding a solution to combat that problem has proven to be a real struggle, but things are finally starting to look up.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh began testing their contraceptive gel, Nestorone/Testosterone (Nest/T) in June 2019, and they recruited 100 volunteers to be a part of their 18-month trial. Since then, the team has been inching towards success with their extraordinary product.
How does the gel work?
According to the official University of Edinburgh website, the gel is a unique mixture of progesterone and testosterone that aims to reduce sperm count, without affecting libido. The gel is supposed to be applied on the upper arms and shoulders daily, and the hormones are then absorbed by the body.
University of Edinburgh’s Professor Richard Anderson said:
Previous trials have shown that hormonal contraception for men can be safe and effective. This trial allows men to self-administer a gel, which may be much more convenient and acceptable than needing repeated injections.
The team is aspiring to reach an effectiveness that is more than 82%, but ideally the hope is to reach the same level as the pill.
Testimonial from a participant
This year, Daily Mail spoke with one of the volunteers for the program about his experience so far using the contraceptive. Ed, and his partner Fiona, switched over to using the gel, for the experiment but the couple has apparently been loving the product.
Similar to women on the pill, Ed too has been dealing with side effects from using the gel, however this has not turned him away from the contraceptive. He mentioned:
I do occasionally get hot flushes and night sweats. And I’ve gained 3-4 kgs.
I don’t mind having the odd hot flush if that’s the price for an absolutely easy, carefree sex life.
The clinical trial is expected to conclude in a few months, and the couple is not looking forward to giving up their free supply of contraceptive gel.
It’s been wonderful to have this time using something that works for us both. I have mood swings in the first few months of using hormonal contraception, so I am not looking forward to it.
It will still take a few years for the gel to get approved and hit the market, but once it does, it will be a game-changer for couples all over the world.