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Male birth control options currently being tested by researchers

July 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
When Natasha Stump and her husband decided they didn't want to have any more kids, Stump's husband told her a vasectomy was out of the question.

"He's a man," she said. "He didn't want any pain."

But what if there were other options?

Researchers so far have found male birth control pills to be effective for some men and not others. Side effects can include weight gain, acne, depression and possible heart problems.

Still, there are other promising forms of male contraception on the verge of getting approved. Dr. Zamip Patel, who works at a Florida hospital, says testosterone gels combined with progestin gels currently hold the most promise.

Dr. Christina Wang says the gel works much like female birth control without a lot of side effects.

An examination of sperm before applying the gel showed them as quite active. But Wang observed that after the gel was applied, the sperm were hardly moving.

Wang says affects from the gels are reversible and would take men three to six months to regain fertility.

Finally, what about a reversible vasectomy?

A procedure called RISUG takes about 15 minutes with a doctor, is effective after about three days and last for 10 or more years. It requires a one-time injection and is reversible with a second injection. RISUG is in an advanced clinical trial in India and will be widely available in the U.S. in three years.

Researchers' eyes are also on a plant-based pill from Indonesia that could offer a natural non-hormonal option.


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