A woman is holding a pack of birth control pills. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

SALT LAKE CITY (KTVX) – Scientists at the University of Utah Health may finally be able to offer women who suffer from common but often debilitating birth control side effects a solution – with the help from their partners.

Salt Lake City Hospital in Utah has announced plans to test a new contraceptive gel for men.

Previous research on the subject has led researchers to believe that the hormone gel decreases sperm count in men. In other words, the gel decreases the user’s chances of conceiving a child without affecting their libido.

“In our society, women are primarily responsible for contraception because they have to live with the consequences, not necessarily men,” says David Turok, MD, MPH, one of the trial’s principal investigators and chief of the Division of Family Planning in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at U of U Health. “This is a fabulous opportunity for men to mobilize and play an active role in the development of new methods of contraception. By doing so, they can demonstrate to their partners that they are invested in a better future for all of us.

Today, heterosexual, sexually active men who wish to minimize their risk of pregnancy and that of their partner have limited options. The new gel, developed by the Population Council and the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), could help address that problem by expanding contraceptive options, Turok said.

The gel is made up of two hormones – a synthetic progesterone called Nestorone and a replacement testosterone. Nestorone’s function is to block natural testosterone production in the testes and reduce sperm count, while replacement testosterone helps maintain libido and other natural hormone dependent functions.

The gel is applied to the man’s shoulders, and its effects are reversible over time.

Scientists are inviting a total of 12 couples to participate in the two-year study, which is part of a national Phase 2 clinical trial supported by the National Institutes of Health. While participants do not have to be U of U Health patients, there are certain requirements:

  • All participants must be in good health and between the ages of 18-50 (men) or 18-34 (women).
  • All participants must be sexually active in a stable, mutually monogamous relationship for at least one year.
  • Participants must have no history of infertility problems.
  • Women should have regular menstrual cycles between 21 and 35 days.

Throughout the study, researchers will track the effectiveness of the gel, the men’s diligence in applying the gel, as well as monitoring each man’s sperm count and testosterone levels while assessing acceptance of the gel. as a contraceptive method.

At the start of the study, the men will be asked to apply the gel once a day. Couples will be asked to use additional forms of contraception for the first four to six months of the study to allow time for the gel to take full effect. Once scientists notice an adequate drop in sperm count, couples will continue for the next 12 months to use the hormone gel as their only form of birth control.

After a period of one year, the men will stop using the gel and the research team will continue to track their sperm count for at least four months after the study or until it returns to a range. normal.

Couples who choose to participate in the full two-year study will have the opportunity to receive up to $3,490 in benefits.

For more information on the study, click here, or to inquire about participation in the study, click on here.

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