17:36 06 October 03
NewScientist.com news service
A male contraceptive treatment has achieved a 100 per cent success rate in trials involving 55 couples, Australian scientists have reported. The treatment was fully reversible and the men suffered no undesirable side-effects.
The research was led by David Handelsman, director of the ANZAC Research Institute in Sydney, and involved treating 55 men in heterosexual relationships for year-long periods. None of the men’s partners became pregnant during the trial, but when the treatment was stopped, normal fertility returned within a few months and some of the couples went on to conceive.
Handelsman believes it is “the first time a male contraceptive that suppresses sperm production reliably and reversibly has been fully tested by couples”. Other experts described the work as a “very significant step forward”.
The combination treatment involves three-monthly injections of progestin – a synthetic version of the female sex hormone progesterone, used in the female contraceptive pill – and an implant of the male sex hormone testosterone renewed every four months.