Researchers test birth control for men

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - A birth control pill for men? It could be a reality soon, along with other birth control options such as creams, injections and even implants for guys.

Researchers are working on birth control, for men. But it's a challenge since men make 1,000 sperm a second. To be an effective contraceptive, sperm count has to go down to zero.

Michael Lehmann has been involved in five testosterone-based clinical trials. He's taken daily pills, monthly injections, a cream he rubbed on his shoulder, and even had an implant.

"There were very minor side effects, um, I had some slight acne on my scalp," Lehmann said.

But testosterone could increase the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. That's why Dr. John Amory is blocking vitamin A in the testicles, which in turn blocks the development of sperm.

"I decided to explore ways of suppressing sperm without using hormones," said Amory.

Tests in mice show it works 100 percent of the time. But still, some doctors are skeptical.

Researchers have also found a hormone-free way to stop sperm production. They're using a drug treatment that targets proteins critical for the process. And the good news is -- it's reversible. When mice were taken off the drug treatment, they became fertile again.

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