A male contraceptive gel aimed at reducing sperm production is on its way.
A clinical trial funded by the US National Institute of Health will develop a contraceptive gel for men called NES/T.
The gel, which contains segesterone acetate and testosterone, is rubbed onto the shoulders and back and absorbed through the skin.
According to the study, the gel blocks a man’s testes from naturally producing testosterone, which then kills sperm production.
The replacement testosterone in the gel maintains sex drive and functions that are dependent on the hormone.
The clinical trial will consist of two phases, in which 420 couples will be enrolled.
First, the gel will be tested on male volunteers to assess their tolerance over four to 12 weeks by checking if sperm production has been reduced.
In phase two, the gel will be tested on couples over 52 weeks, during which they will be required to use no other contraceptives. The couples will then be monitored for a further 24 weeks after discontinuing the gel.