Is there a male contraceptive pill yet?

A new birth control method is on the horizon.

5th July 2018
Is there a male contraceptive pill yet?

Asked by: Jasper Wilson, Wisbech

We’re getting closer. Dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU, is still undergoing trials, but initial findings, announced earlier this year, are that it dramatically suppresses sperm production, without the unwanted side effects of previous pills such as breast enlargement, low sex drive or liver inflammation. DMAU is a single molecule, but – like female contraceptive pills – it combines the biological properties of two types of sex hormone. The main ingredient is dimethandrolone, which is a synthetic ‘androgen’ with some of the properties of testosterone.

But DMAU also acts as a ‘progestogen’. In men, this suppresses the other sex hormones, such as testosterone and oestrogen, but without feminising side effects. The net result is a drastic reduction in the production of sperm. DMAU also contains the long-chain fatty acid undecanoate, which acts to increase the amount of time the drug spends in the body, so that a single pill will last all day.

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