A cancer drug may soon become the country’s first male birth control pill, according to researchers.
Tests in mice show the drug can prevent a mouse’s body from making sperm, although the mice were able to become fertile again within a few months.
Scientists say this could be the first-ever hormone-free contraception to help men control the size of their families.
Dr. Susanna Parks from Scripps Health and San Diego Fertility Center calls the drug promising.
“The studies in mice have shown that fertility comes back in a number of months -- two to four months, which is good. That's very similar to women; when a woman takes a birth control pill it can take up to six months for her menstrual cycles to return," Parks told NBC 7.
Parks also says female contraceptives interfere with hormones such as estrogen, but it turns out that messing with testosterone doesn’t necessarily affect fertility and has a range of unwanted side-effects.
Scientists are excited about this finding because of the enormous implications.
The World Health Organization says half a million women die every year globally from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 360,000 American teenagers give birth every year, and tens of thousands more have abortions.
Researchers are currently working to make sure the drug won’t affect a man’s libido, but it could be years before the drug is approved and sold in the U.S.
Experts are also trying to determine the side effects of this form of birth control. Dr. Parks said that undoubtedly there will be some side effects, but it will take some time to determine just how common they might be,