Roundup: Is Male Birth Control Finally on Its Way?

Robin Marty

Less frequent than the shot, less permanent than a vasectomy, it's...the future of male birth control!

Ladies, your prayers are (slowly) being answered.  Sick of the pills, the inserts, the injections and the patches?  Well, it’s almost time to tell your partner that birth control is HIS problem now.

Just close your eyes and imagine

A man’s wife doesn’t feel good on the Pill. He’d like to have the “old her” back, and figures it’s his turn to take responsibility for contraception. But they want another child, so vasectomy is not an option. So what does he do? While he drops his electric car off for a quick charge, he pops into the doctor’s office for a recharge of his own: 15 minutes of ultrasound treatment, for 6 months of contraception. Sound futuristic? It’s not. The effect of ultrasound on sperm production has been known since the 1970’s, but never pursued since then.

So, how would it work, exactly?

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A one-off hit of ultrasound waves every six months could prevent a man’s testes from producing sperm and leave the man infertile temporarily, say scientists. It would wear off and would have no bad side affects, the researchers believe. However, the long-term effects are still unknown, such as whether a man’s fertility would return after multiple uses over the years.

“We think this could provide men with up to six months of reliable, low-cost, non-hormonal contraception from a single round of treatment,” said Dr James Tsuruta, from the University of North Carolina.

“Our long-term goal is to use ultrasound from therapeutic instruments that are commonly found in sports medicine or physical therapy clinics as an inexpensive, long-term, reversible male contraceptive suitable for use in developing to first world countries,” he also said.

Longer-term, non-hormonal birth control?  Sounds amazing!  But how do we know it’s really on the horizon?  Because some serious funding is being applied to make it so.

The team of researchers has been awarded $100,000 (£67,000) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to prepare for a trial in humans. The first step is to establish the minimum intensity of ultrasound required to act as a contraceptive in rats. The team also plan to investigate the mechanism that causes temporary infertility.

“Establishing safety, efficacy and reversibility: these are our top concerns,” said Dr Tsuruta.

Still feel like you should back up his birth control?  How about adding a gel on top of it?

CBS 2 News visited a male fertility expert Wednesday. Dr. Laurence Levine at Rush University Medical Center said he sees one or two dozen patients each week, who are taking testosterone gel.

For decades, testosterone gels have been prescribed for men of all ages whose bodies are slowing down, but after several months something happens to their sperm count.

“We find that often times that when they take that testosterone they will have suppression or reduction of their sperm production. So it can compromise fertility status,” Levine said.

Researchers believe that, in the right dose, testosterone, perhaps enhanced with female horomones, might be the perfect male contraceptive

The gel is applied by rubbing a bit on your elbow and stomach.

Now the only question left is, how much will these new birth control developments upset Rachel Welch?

Mini Roundup:  It apears that now that she’s unfettered, Former First Lady Laura Bush is really for equal rights for gays and a woman’s right to choose. As one writer points out, that puts her “slightly to the left of the current occupant of the White House.”

May 12, 2010

A Culture of Recrimination or of Life? – America Magazine

British Pro-Life Group: David Cameron Won’t Be Better on Abortion Than Brown –

More Condoms, Contraceptives, Midwives, and Educated Girls Could Prevent Most … – Kansas City infoZine

MCCL targets Horner – Minnesota Public Radio

Aldermen Fighting Against Abortion Restrictions – WCHL 1360

Roundup: Kagan backs abortion restriction –

New Williams Ad Hammers On Onorato On Abortion, Guns. – Capitol Ideas with John L. Micek

Scott McInnis’s Abortion Stance Comes Full Circle With Support For ‘Personhood … – Huffington Post

Oklahoma Legislature Passes Anti-Choice Law Requiring Publication of Patient … – Ms. Magazine

Laura Bush: pro abortion and gay marriage – The Guardian

AP: Abortion rights group endorses Specter foe – The Associated Press

No bills vetoed by McDonnell – Richmond Times Dispatch

Personhood Amendment gains support of once-skeptical Republicans – Westword

How did a new politics turn into rule by rich, white men? – The Guardian

Memos reveal Kagan’s centrist side – Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone

West Virginia Loss Sends Another Warning Shot to Incumbents – The AtlanticWire

Laura Bush Supports Gay Marriage, Abortion – ABC News

Commentary: New UK Government Spells Dangers for Both Born and Unborn – Lifesite

Family Values In Red States Vs. Blue States – NPR

Sarah Palin Hits Washington on Friday for Anti-Abortion Fundraiser – Politics Daily

Laura Bush: I’m Pro Choice – The New Ledger

Birth Control Pill Sparked Contraceptive Revolution – Voice of America

Groundbreaking form of contraceptive turns 50 – WDAY

Raquel Welch: ‘contraceptive pill has caused the decline in marriage’ – Grazia

Why Is Population Control Such a Radioactive Topic? – Mother Jones

Kenyans urged to adopt family planning – Capital FM

No more pills: Male contraceptive takes new approach – EurekAlert

Male contraception – administered by ultrasound?! – MadeForMums

World Bank Announces Five-Year Plan To Reduce Maternal Deaths, Fertility Rates … – Kaiser Family Foundation

Beyond The Bedroom: What The Birth Control Pill Really Did For Women – Forbes

Scientists find new role for ultrasound — as a male contraceptive – Times Online

Researchers Testing Birth Control Gel For Men – CBS2 Chicago

Human Trials Starting On Ultrasound As Birth Control – Babble Magazine

Gates Foundation Backs New Contraceptive Method – Tom’s Guide

New HIV and AIDS vaccine for Kenyan men – VSO International

HIV+ cases on the rise in Milwaukee area –

US Expands HIV/AIDS Programs In Caribbean – Kaiser Family Foundation

Advances Against AIDS – Imperial Valley News

Capps Introduces Maternal Health Bill – Ms. Magazine

The Role of the United States in Combating Human Trafficking – US Department of State

Women and Cancer: Cervical, Ovarian, and Uterine –

Bill Gates signs agreement with Bihar to boost health standards – The Hindu

Time to stop celebrating mothers’ sacrifice – China Daily

May 13, 2010

Kagan Now Welcomes Confirmation “Charade” – The New American

Stupak disappointed abortion almost derailed health care reform – Daily Kos

State high court justice steps away from abortion lawsuit – Anchorage Daily News

Oklahoma GOP lawmaker speaks against abortion, insurance bill –

UN head steers clear of abortion debate – Toronto Star

On Capitol Hill, Kagan Gets to Know Her Voters – New York Times

Guest Column: ‘Pill’ let women have a family and a career – Memphis Commercial Appeal

FDA approves new birth control pill – Hindustan Times

World Bank Announces Increased Lending For Family Planning, Maternal Health … – Medical News Today

Clinic Credited for Reducing Pregnancy, STD Rates – WSET

New plan to reduce maternal deaths – Public Service

Less Money for AIDS Treatment – UN Dispatch

Latina teen pregnancy on conference agenda – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Surviving Motherhood – Macau Daily Times

Viewpoints: Breast cancer tests save money, lives – Sacramento Bee

Birth-control opponents greenwash their message – Grist Magazine

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