Birth control pill for men? Researchers say yes

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by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

kvue.com

Posted on January 29, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 29 at 9:41 AM

HOUSTON -- What would you say to a birth control pill for men? Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine say the pill would have no side effects.

Bill Bandiga has been married for 25 years. Bandiga and his wife want no surprises, so he went to his urologist to talk about a vasectomy.

“I'm close to 50 now,” said Bill Bandiga. “No way in heck I want to have any kids at this point. I want to make sure this is permanent."

Dr. Martin Matzuk is working on a breakthrough that could change birth control for men.

In his Baylor College of Medicine lab, Dr. Matzuk showed what is perhaps the most exciting research his department's ever seen.

"We would rank it in the top five -- maybe even the top two," said Dr. Matzuk.

His lab is working on the first birth control pill for men. Others have tried but failed because of harmful side effects.

But, research published in the Cell Medical Journal says JQ1 is different.

"I'll tell you what it didn't do, which is very important, it did not affect the libido of the animals," said Dr. Matzuk.

In the past, other pills have targeted hormones, but JQ1 targets germ cells, and so far in mice, side effects do not exist.

But will that success be the same for men? Researchers say yes.

"Safety, safety, safety, safety, safety,” said Matthew who is unsure about the research. “How it affects my hormone levels, reproductive organs, just everything."

"What kind of effect it's going to have on him,” asked Jennifer who is unsure about the research. “Is it going to make anything different in that area?"

"In the mice, it didn't show that effect,” said Dr. Matzuk. “But, again, this is only over a one-year period of time and men might be taking this for many years, even decades."

Dr. Matzuk’s research will continue and clinical trials could start in five years.

"Interesting idea -- I think for a younger male," said Bandiga.

But for now, Bandiga is happy sticking with what he knows -- getting a vasectomy.

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