A research funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has officially started enrolling 420 young and healthy couples to participate in a trial that is aimed at evaluating the efficacy and safety of a contraceptive gel.
Guess what? The gel is not spermicidal and it has to be applied in a totally different manner! The user males will apply this gel to the back and shoulders once daily – that’s it! This has infuriated many women (as seen on twitter), since many contraceptive methods that are conventionally used in women are either invasive or they have a very unfavorable side-effect profile.
The gel contains a progestin hormone (Nestorone) along with testosterone. Progestin is added to lower sperm counts, but why testosterone? The answer is simple. Since, progestin also lowers testosterone level in men, it has to be replenished externally.
The participants of this study will apply this new gel (on arms and shoulders) for a period of about 140 days (20 weeks) in combination with other contraceptive methods. After achieving ‘infertility’ (secondary to diminishing sperm counts), other contraceptive methods will be withdrawn and gel application will be continued for about a year. Contraceptive efficacy of the gel will be evaluated during this period.
Till now, the burden of contraception has largely remained on the shoulder of women. The reason for this tilt is the fact that only two methods, i.e. condoms & vasectomy were available for use in men. But now, as this new option emerges, things are expected to change dramatically.
The trial will end by 2022. So, dear men, a few more years to go!!