The first male contraceptive pill won’t be a hypothetical possibility anymore as a new method of stopping sperm from swimming to the ova has been discovered by researchers.
In a report published by Doctor tipster, researchers from Monash University in Melbourne are said to have discovered a method whereby the mobility of sperm can be stopped, thus preventing fertilization. The report says that researchers used mice with a gene mutation in the experiment. The gene, called RABL2, is believed to be responsible for synthesizing the protein that serves as fuel for producing and mobilizing sperm. By using a mutant RABL2, the researchers were able to cut sperm production by nearly 50 percent while the sperm produced also had shorter filaments, or “sperm tails”.
The research is published now in the journal PLoS Genetics and Professor Moira O’Bryan, who led the research, was quoted in the report saying the mice used in the experiment became infertile and had “inert” sperm without causing any behavioral effects. She suggests that RABL2 gene could be used in a viable male contraceptive pill in a way to make the sperm infertile only temporarily; according to her, turning the sperm back on is the challenge before the researchers.
In a related research, conducted at Sydney's Genea fertility clinic, scientists have tested the contraceptive qualities of lemon juice. Citric acid found in lemon juice is being tested for its effect on sperm mobility and some tests suggest that the natural chemical is effective in stopping sperm from swimming. While further testing of samples is underway at the clinic, the facility’s scientific director Steve McArthur told that citric acid is a safe alternative to formaldehyde which has also been used in immobilizing sperm but has carcinogenic properties. Lemon juice, according to the post in New Zealand Herald, was used by Mediterranean women as a contraceptive three centuries ago.