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How A Male Contraceptive Pill Could Work (Video)

June 14, 2019 by Justin Lehmiller

Scientists have been working on developing a birth control pill for men for years. One prominent line of research has focused on using hormones to block production of sperm; however, this approach has come with a number of side effects and there is a significant number of men for whom it don’t seem to work. As a result, some researchers have begun turning to methods that don’t require the administration of hormones, as Dr. John Amory explains in the TEDMED video below.

Armory’s approach is to target Vitamin A, which is essential to sperm production, and block its functionality in the testes. Specifically, he and his colleagues are working to block the effects of certain enzymes that only appear in the testes that convert Vitamin A to retinoic acid. By preventing that conversion to retinoic acid, sperm production should theoretically stop, and it shouldn’t affect other functions of Vitamin A throughout the body (translation: side effects should be limited).

To learn more about this approach and about the broader social implications of having an effective male contraceptive on the market, check out the full video below.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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