A recent study, published in the journal Cell and conducted by a team of researchers, including a Texas A&M scientist, claims that it may be sooner than later that men can begin taking their own birth control pills, instead of just women.

Qinglei Li, an assistant professor in Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences worked under the lead of Martin Matzuk from Baylor College of Medicine and James Bradner at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the expert behind the discovery.

Using mice, the researchers discovered that a compound called JQ1 works as a blocker of sperm and its movement.

Li says:

“Both of these things are needed for fertility, but JQ1 prevents both. It stopped the sperm production very dramatically. More good news is that there appear to be no side effects whatsoever. One the JQ1 was no longer given to the mice, they were back to their normal reproduction rates, and it did not affect mating behavior or the health of the offspring.”

The mice were given the compound via injection, however, the scientists say that a pill which has the same results may be created in the near future.

To date, no birth control pills have been manufactured for men, even though the theme has been extensively discussed for a long time. Trials have shown that 70% of men would take a birth control if there was one available to them.

Female contraceptives often cause hormonal changes, and hinder estrogen levels. However, Li claims that JQ1 will not cause testosterone levels in men to alter and that no side effects should appear at all.

The JQ1 compound was initially used in anti-cancer medications. Scientists later discovered that it was extremely effective for fertility control.

Li concludes:

“This is an exciting step in male contraception. A compound with more specificity will be needed before clinical trials can be done for humans. It does not mean a male birth control just yet, but it is a great step forward in that direction.”

Written by Christine Kearney