Male ‘Pill’ on trial

Eighty British couples are testing a contraceptive injection for men that frees women from the burden of family planning and is said to be as effective as the Pill...

A male contraceptive injection said to be as effective as the Pill is currently being trialled by British couples.

The news will be welcomed by women worried about the Pill‘s links to breast cancer and fatal blood clots. The drawback is that it depends on men making regular trips to their GP – and women trusting them to do so.

Sixty couples in Manchester and 20 in Edinburgh are taking part in the year-long trials as part of a larger worldwide study. It requires men to receive two injections every two months at their GP.

The injection contains testosterone, the male sex hormone and a version of the female sex hormone progresterone. It works by tricking the brain into shutting off sperm production.

Professor Richard Anderson, from the University of Edinburgh, who is heading one of the trials, said: ‘When we carried out surveys of women, they were enormously enthusiastic. The single most common reason was that they wanted to share the responsibility for contraception.’

He added that the jab would appeal more to those in a committed relationship: ‘You are not sleeping with men, you are sleeping with one particular man you are sharing your bank accounts and everything else with.’

Doctors say the injection, which is still at least five years away from the market, has proved effective in 99 per cent of cases, and sperm counts should rapidly return to normal once the injections are stopped.. No serious side-effects are expected the jabs, although some men might experience hot flushes, mood swings or acne. It also does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

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