NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Researchers Identify Compounds that Could Lead to Short-Term Contraceptive for Men

In a mouse study, NIH-funded researchers have identified a potential non-hormonal contraceptive that men could take shortly before sexual activity and have fertility restored the next day. Researchers gave male mice a compound that temporarily disables soluble adenylyl cyclase, the enzyme essential for activating a sperm cell’s ability to swim and mature so it can travel through the female reproductive tract and fertilize an egg.

In several tests, the researchers showed that the compound TDI-11861 rendered mouse sperm cells immobile and prevented them from maturing. The compound did not interfere with the animals’ sexual functioning. Although male mice mated with females, no pregnancies were observed. Sperm recovered from female mice remained incapacitated. 

The authors did not observe any side effects in the male or female mice. The compound wore off three hours later; males recovered their fertility.

The study, funded by NICHD, NIA and NCI, was conducted by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College. Findings appear in Nature Communications

The researchers say their work provides proof of concept that soluble adenylyl cyclase inhibitors have the potential to provide a safe, on-demand, non-hormonal and reversible oral contraceptive for men.

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