Male contraceptive

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Male contraceptives are methods of preventing pregnancy that primarily involve the male physiology. The most common kinds of male contraception include condoms, withdrawal / pulling out (although medical professionals do not regard 'pulling out' as an effective method of contraception), outercourse,[1] and vasectomy.[2] In domestic animals, castration is commonly used for contraception. Other forms of male contraception are in various stages of research and development.[3] These include methods like RISUG/VasalGel (which has completed a small phase II clinical trial in humans in India)[4] and ultrasound (with results so far obtained in experimental animals[5][6] ).

Traditional methods[edit]

The withdrawal method has a failure rate of about 4% per year if used correctly at every act of intercourse.[7]

Dioscorides, ca. 40 A.D., described the contraceptive property of hemp seeds (Cannabis sativa) and rue (Ruta graveolens) in De Materia Medica, a text widely used into medieval times.[8] One test in rats (20 milligrams of the 80% ethanol extract) found that these reduced sperm count by more than half.[9] In medieval Persia (and in other traditions as cited) these herbs were used for male contraception, as well as Gossypium herbaceum (Malvaceae),[10] Cyperus longus (Cyperaceae), Vitex pseudonegundo (Verbenaceae), Chenopodium ambrosioides (Chenopodiaceae),[11][12] Aristolochia indica (Aristolochiaceae),[13] Punica granatum (Punicaceae),[14] and Sarcostemma acidum (Asclepiadaceae).[15] However, the compound isolated from Gossypium, as well as other cotton seeds and okra (gossypol) has been abandoned for contraceptive use because it was found to cause permanent infertility in ten to twenty percent of users.[16]

In Indian traditional medicine, uses of the neem tree were described in Ayurvedic medicine, by Sushruta and in the Rasarathasamucchaya, Sarangadhara, Bhavaprakasha and Bhisagya Ratnavali. Held traditionally to have antifertility effects, its leaves were demonstrated to reduce pregnancy rate and litter size in a test of male rats.[17]

In 1995, researchers isolated compounds from a plant used in Chinese herbal medicine called Tripterygium wilfordii (, lei gong teng).[18]

In 2002, researchers fed extracts from the seeds of papaya fruits (Carica papaya) to monkeys. Subsequently, the monkeys had no sperm in their ejaculate.[19] Traditionally used for contraception, papaya seeds had no apparent ill effects on the testes or other organs of rats tested with a long-term treatment.[20]

In 2002, tests were performed on male rats using oleanolic acid, extracted from Eugenia jambolana, a tree in the southern part of Africa. The tests demonstrated that the chemical was found to reversibly lower the rats' sperm motility without affecting the sperm count.[21]

Heat-based contraception, dating in concept to the writings of Hippocrates, involves heating the testicles to prevent the formation of sperm. Requiring the maintenance of testes at 116 °F (47 °C) (just below the threshold of pain) for 45 minutes, it is not a widely appealing technique, but a variant employing ultrasound has been under investigation.[22]

Methods in development[edit]

Pharmaceutical methods[edit]

One goal of research is to develop a male oral contraceptive, a male contraceptive that can be taken in pill form by mouth, similar to the existing oral contraceptive pill for women.[26]

Surgical methods[edit]

Non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical methods[edit]

Abandoned research[edit]


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