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New Male Birth-Control Options May Be on the Way

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In the latest tests of male hormonal contraceptives, men have remained on the methods for up to a year. "In all of them, once they stopped taking it, their sperm count come up to normal within six months of stopping, and several have had children," Baird says. "However, if you ask me, 'What will happen if I take it for 30 years?,' we can't know that until enough men have taken it for 30 years."

How soon could male hormonal contraceptives reach drugstore shelves? "Twenty years ago, people were saying 'in five years' and they turned out to be wrong, so I'm hesitant to make predictions," Amory says. "There are technical hurdles that need to be overcome. Conservatively, let's estimate 10 to 15 years. Or if there were a major breakthrough, it could be five years."

Vital Information:

  • Researchers are continuing work on developing more birth-control options for men.
  • Early studies have been conducted with injections of testosterone, alone or in combination with other substances.
  • The hope is to find male birth control that has positive side effects, such as reducing the risk of prostate and testicular cancer, acne, benign enlarged prostate, and male pattern baldness
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