A birth control pill for men could soon be a reality

Researchers say an oral contraceptive for men could be a reality in the next ten years

Published December 3, 2013 10:03PM (EST)

Scientists in Australia may be closer than ever to developing a birth control pill for men.

Researchers at Melbourne's Monash University say they have succeeded in genetically blocking two proteins that control the transport of sperm through the reproductive system, resulting in temporary infertility.

"We've shown that simultaneously disrupting the two proteins that control the transport of sperm during ejaculation causes complete male infertility, but without affecting the long-term viability of sperm or the sexual or general health of males," said researcher Sabatino Ventura. "The sperm is effectively there, but the muscle is just not receiving the chemical message to move it."

It's a genetic process researchers are hoping to reproduce chemically in the form of a contraceptive pill, and it could happen in the next decade, according to Ventura.

"[The male birth control pill] would block the transport of sperm and then if you're a young guy and you get to the stage where you wanted to start fathering children, you stop taking it and everything should be okay," he told a local news network, according to a report from AFP.

"It would be like an oral medication probably taken daily just like the female contraceptive pill."

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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