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Promising step in the development of a male birth control pill

A container of birth control pills.
A container of birth control pills.
Photo by thestarshine via Flickr Creative Commons

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For over 60 years, women have taken “the pill” – and now there’s some promising science on the potential for a male version.

Besides vasectomy and condoms, the options for male birth control are fairly limited, which is what a team of researchers testing this new hormone-based pill are trying to change. The participants who took the pill gained a few pounds and had a small drop in HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol, but experienced no major side effects.The results of the four-week trial found that men taking this pill had lowered levels of testosterone, as well as two other hormones that are involved in sperm production. However, the study did not measure sperm count.

Researchers say a longer trial is needed, but the current results are promising.

We talk to Dr. Christina Wang, who lead the Los Angeles-based part of the study, about the methodology, the obstacles to creating a male birth control pill and what kind of research will be done in the future.


Christina Wang M.D., lead investigator of the part of the study that took place at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (another portion of the study was conducted at the University of Washington); she is an andrologist, endocrinologist and professor of medicine at UCLA