Researchers have been exploring a male birth control pill, but with the exception of condoms, vasectomies or coitus interuptus – each with varying success rates and not necessarily halal depending on religious leanings – birth control for men is still limited. A new study may be changing that. Goodbye unplanned pregnancies, hello ultrasound testes ‘zapper.’
It may not be painful and offers potentially better results with greater flexibility than current contraception options for men. Warning: Do not try this at home, with your laptop or other source of radiation exposure.
From Time Magazine:
James Tsuruta, an assistant professor of pediatrics at University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and his colleagues report in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology that commonly used doses of ultrasound can lower rats’ sperm concentrations to 3 million per milliliter of semen.
“When we treated the rats in the study, it only took two weeks to shut down a process that is essential to the survival of any species,” says Tsuruta. “Males produce millions of sperm every day. So it’s a very, very robust system. To be able to turn that off — we are really excited to learn how this actually works.”
In the study, the rats’ testes were exposed to high frequency ultrasound at 3 MHz for 15 minutes each, two days apart. The sessions were enough to kill the existing sperm in the testes and stop the development of additional sperm.
Additional research needs to include follow up for long term health effects including determining if the process is reversible for men who hope to become fathers. “We need to do more studies to be sure that a man can use this over and over again, and that when he does decide to father children, there is no problem at all,” Tsuruta is quoted as saying.
Low sperm count in men is anything less than 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Globally, sperm counts have been dropping and account for a significant portion of male-related infertility problems in couples trying to conceive. A recent study in Israel found a 40% reduction in sperm.
Environmental toxins are often cited as one contributing factor for male fertility challenges.
:: photo by Smoobs
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Tinamarie is a regular contributor to Greenprophet.com. She also blogs at www.tinamariebernard.com.