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The future of sperm-related birth control

A laboratory staff members selects spermatozoa to process for a medically-assisted procreation (MAP) procedure.
A laboratory staff members selects spermatozoa to process for a medically-assisted procreation (MAP) procedure.

The burden of finding the right birth control method typically falls to the person who can get pregnant. Some 90 percent of females have taken a contraceptive at some point in their lives, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Currently, there are just two birth control options for people who produce sperm: a vasectomy or condoms. That could change soon. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College discovered that a drug used to treat eye disease temporarily stopped sperm production in mice –  hours later, fertility was restored.

The findings were published earlier this month in the journalNature Communications. The researchers think they’ve taken a step toward developing a potential non-hormonal birth control drug that can be taken in the hours before sex to stop sperm from swimming. 

Why has it taken so long to develop a birth control pill for sperm? And how could birth control for men change reproductive politics?

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Anna Casey