When it comes to pregnancy prevention, the heavy majority of prophylactic options are for women. Men pretty much have just one — the one ribbed for her pleasure. Male birth control pills have been rumored and spoken of for years, like the hoverboard of prescription drugs, but we were never all that close to a solution. Until now.
According to Wired, two possibilities for the male birth control pill are in various testing phases. One, H2-gamendazole, presently in the animal-testing stage, works by keeping sperm from reaching the mature potency point:
Normally, premature sperm cells grow a tail and head in the testis, but H2-gamendazole keeps them from reaching this stage of development. The unfinished sperm fragments are then reabsorbed into the testis, never ending up in the semen. “If there’s no sperm, the egg’s not going to get fertilized,” says Joseph Tash, a reproductive biologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center, who has worked on the compound since 2001.
The next stage for this drug is seeing how it affects the female body. As a possessor of a female body, I feel this is a fairly important research point. It’s not a particularly helpful prophylactic method if it prevents sperm from maturing but then turns ovaries into fire monsters.
The other potentially life-changing drug possibility is JQ1, currently in the chemical optimization stage. It works by tricking the body into forgetting how to create sperm. It’s like weed for your balls:
Jay Bradner and his team at Harvard’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute had been working on blocking bromodomain proteins, which he describes as “Post-it notes that cells place around the genome to remind them of their identity.” JQ1 blocked a bromodomain in cancer cells, causing them to forget how to be cancer. Great. But JQ1 also obstructed a testicle-specific bromodomain called BRDT, making the sex cells that would otherwise produce sperm draw a blank about their own behavior—mice treated with JQ1 can hump with abandon yet generate zero mouselings.
This one is a bit more distant. The research team needs to find a way to make the drug work on testicle proteins only, presumably so the body doesn’t forget how to do other things like urinate or eat burritos.
Whatever happens next, the day of the male birth control pill is coming. Don’t tell Hobby Lobby.