Testicular zap could stop sperm production

The latest form of contraception could involve a dose of ultra sound to the testicles, according to researchers

A new study, published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, shows that sound waves could be used to reduce sperm counts to levels that would cause infertility.

Researchers, from the University of North Carolina suggest the ultrasound could be a promising candidate in contraception, finding two 15-minute doses significantly reduce the amount of sperm producing cells.

‘Further studies are required to determine how long the contraceptive effect lasts and if it is safe to use multipe times,’ says lead researcher Dr James Tsuruta.

The team will now focus on ensuring the ultrasound produces a reversible effect so that it can be used as a form of contraception and will not cause sterilisation. They will also investigate whether repeat doses cause cumulative damage.

Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, says: ‘It’s a nice idea, but a lot more work needs to be done. The last thing we want is a lingering damage to sperm,’ he says.

In humans, men are considered to be sub-fertile when sperm counts dropped below 15 million sperm per millilitre.

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