Science Brings Us One Step Closer to Male Birth Control

by Holiday Black

In our world today, you could get pregnant. If you’re a woman having sex with a man, that is. I mean, I’m saying it could happen if you don’t use birth control. But then again, maybe it could still happen. Condoms break, dosages can mix weirdly with other prescriptions, or like, God or Chester Cheetoh or whoever could just decide randomly to bestow the crying, shitting, diaper-bearing gift of life upon you’re already frantic life. Ug. No thank you! It’s so cool that the world is changing, and like, **technology** because guess what…Science magazine published a study this week that brings us one step closer to being able to share some of that absolutely terrifying (but also magical) uterine responsibility with men. 

The scientists behind the study, based in Japan, discovered that male mice were infertile after blocking just a single protein, calcineurin, found in their sperm. When this protein is blocked, the sperm is unable to swim fast enough to make contact with the female egg. Cheers to that! The good news is that the male mice were also found to be healthy after their sperm had been genetically modified to block this protein. So, that’s good news, I guess: we don’t have to kill or maim men in anyway to avoid harboring their offspring inside of us.

The team gave non-genetically modified males a drug, which blocked calcineurin and had the same success. Within four or five days, these male mice also went infertile. When the mice were taken off the drug, their fertility levels were back to normal. Humans have this exact same protein, so guess what that means? We might be getting close to a male birth-control pill.

This male birth control pill probably won’t be popping up anytime soon, as there are still questions of safety and effectiveness that need to be sorted out. But still!

This development is an exciting step towards leveling the reproductive playing field, one that might take the weight off women and men and alike.  If the responsibility of “keeping it wrapped” were mutual, there’d be significantly less stress for both parties. Amen, Science!

Image by Al Greer/Flickr

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