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14th Dec 2023

British men to be first in world to try new male contraceptive pill

Jack Peat

Volunteers are being recruited to test its effectiveness

A group of British blokes are set to become the first in the world to test a new male contraceptive pill that could see the tables turned once and for all.

The new daily pill prevents sperm production by blocking access to vitamin A, which is the bit that is required for fertility.

Experts from YourChoice Therapeutics said that pre-clinical studies showed YCT-529 was “99 per cent effective and 100 per cent reversible with no side effects”.

Unlike the female version of the pill, it is entirely hormone-free, so it won’t have any impact on things like mood, skin changes and nausea.

Boffins have credited the success of the new drug to taking a new approach to how they viewed male contraception.

Previous versions of the male pill have attempted to suppress the male sex hormone testosterone to prevent sperm production, but this does not stop sperm production completely and has been linked to some complications.

The new hormone-free pill could offer a new and more effective solution, broadening the shared responsibility for contraception between the sexes.

As things stand, blokes can only use condoms or have a vasectomy to stave off pregnancy, while there are a vast array of contraceptives for women including the pill, the coil, a contraceptive injection and use of diaphragms or female condoms, among other options.

Akash Bakshi, co-founder and chief executive of YourChoice Therapeutics, added: “YCT-529 blocks a protein — not hormones — to prevent sperm production.

“We believe this will be more attractive to men, most of whom view pregnancy prevention as a shared responsibility even despite today’s limited contraceptive options, which are permanent or only moderately effective.

“The dearth of options reinforces the centuries-old view that pregnancy prevention is ‘a woman’s responsibility’. It’s not, and we’re committed to advancing the first hormone-free birth control pill for men that’s effective, convenient and temporary.”

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