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12th Jan 2022

Warm balls could be the next male birth control, according to experts

Kieran Galpin

There's Something about Mary

Would you strap such contraptions to your balls?

A research team from China has discovered that warm balls could be the next big male birth control after testing the theory on mice testicles.

While warm balls sound like a simple task, before you all run for the hot water bottles, it’s a little more scientific than that. Though the study was initially applied to the issue of animal control back in 2013, the researchers moved onto bigger and better balls, reports Vice.

In 2013, researchers from the Institute of Reproductive Medicine at Nantong University in China injected mice balls with modified gold nanorods. Near-infrared irradiation warmed the nanorods up from 86 degrees fahrenheit to 98 and 113 degrees. The study’s results offered a “more convenient, efficient, and cheaper than surgical castration, which can be chosen to treat the overpopulation of pets and stray animals.”

James Bond

Eight years later, the scientists sought to produce a male contraception option that was neither invasive nor irreversible. However the researchers realised that injecting metal into scrotums across the world could be painful, that heating them could cause “severe dermal damage,” and that non-degradable nanoparticles could be toxic.

They attempted to use degradable magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles by injecting them into the veins of the mice and using a magnet on their privates for four hours to attract the particles. After a respite period that lasted between one and four days, they wrapped the testicles in an electric coil, which warmed the metal with the magnetic field to between 98 and 113 degrees.

They found that the mice’s sperm count reduced after days of treatment, and more interestingly, found that lower temperatures meant the sperm count recovered at 60 days.

 There's Something about Mary

They said: “The number of pups born to pregnant mice was almost the same and no visible morphological defects were observed in all the pups.”

Rather concerningly, hotter temperatures meant the balls atrophied, and in some cases, the poor mice experienced “distinct black discolourations” across their baby-making factories. Then, the testicles were “severely damaged at 7 days” and did not recover if warmed at above 113 degrees.

Jeffrey Mo spoke on the issues of the study for The Conversation, stating that not many men would voluntarily strap the risk to their crown jewels. Instead, he recommends that the animal market could see the merit in such experiments.

David Powell, director of the Reproductive Management Center of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, told The Conversation that: “Zoos are a very small market, and so drug companies don’t have a lot of motivation to make animal contraceptives.”

Yeah, stick with zoos.

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