Since the beginning of recorded time, humankind has been trying to figure out how we could have tons of sex without having any unforeseen consequences that last up to 18 years. On the male side of things, there’s not a lot of middle ground between wrapping a latex balloon around your genitals and surgically cutting or burning your sperm duct.
Luckily, some geeks and nerds (we mean, uh, scientists) at the University of Minnesota have a new proposed contraceptive that could begin clinical trials as early as this year.
According to an article from Gizmodo, the contraceptive works by targeting how the male body interacts with vitamin A, which is essential when it comes to fertility in mammals.
What’s extremely appealing about this new potential compound is that it would be a form of non-hormonal birth control for men. If you don’t know the difference between hormonal birth control methods and non-hormonal birth control methods, we implore you to ask a woman about it.
“After a lengthy search, they found an experimental compound that blocks a protein responsible for binding to a form of vitamin A (retinoic acid) in our cells, known as retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR-α),” reads the article. “RAR-α is one of three proteins with a similar function, and the hope is that its selective blocking is enough to induce long-lasting but reversible sterility while causing little to no off-target effects elsewhere.”
Other forms of male birth control are already in clinical trials, but many of these contraceptives work by targeting testosterone, and in addition to side effects like high cholesterol and lower sex drive, everyone knows that cutting down on testosterone would kill our gym gains as well as invalidate our hormonal excuse for toxic masculinity.
The compound has been dubbed GPHR-529, and it’s OK, we’ve been calling it “Gopher-529” also.
“In new data presented … at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society, the team found that male mice dosed with the treatment for four weeks consistently experienced a sharp drop in sperm count and became sterile,” reads the article. “Overall, GPHR-529 was estimated to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, with no noticeable side effects.”
What’s more is that, four to six weeks after abstaining from GPHR-529, the male mice were found to no longer be sterile. This implies that men could change how fertile they are in as little as a month, should they ever get shamed and conned into fathering a child.