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Researchers getting closer to birth control for men

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Millions of women rely on birth control pills for family planning, but what if they could shift that responsibility to the men in their lives?

Researchers are getting closer to making a contraceptive pill for men that could change the way couples plan their families.

Researchers say the challenge is that men make about a  thousand sperm a second, and to be effective, the pill must lower the sperm count to zero.

Study participant Michael Lehmann has been involved in  five testosterone-based clinical trials. He says it’s important for men to have choices.

Lehmann  was given daily pills, then monthly injections, tried an implant, and even a cream that he rubbed on his shoulders and says, “There were very minor side effects. I had some slight acne on my scalp.”

Michael’s testosterone levels were changed, but doctors say testosterone could increase the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.

Dr. John Amory of the University of Washington School of Medicine is finding success by blocking vitamin A in the area that produces sperm instead and says, “I decided to explore ways of suppressing sperm without using hormones.”

Tests in mice show it works 100 percent of the time, and once the pill was stopped, they were able to become fertile again.

But there’s something else to consider. Will men be just as likely as women to take a birth control pill every day?

Some doctors are skeptical about  that they will take it every day.

Dr. Sanjay Acerwall of University of California-San Diego says, “A male contraceptive,  I don't think women will trust it.”

That may determine whether a male birth control pill is marketable, even after it’s proven to be a safe and effect method of family planning.

The study was published in the journal “Cell.”

For more on how the male birth control pill works you can visit