Video: U.K. scientists develop The Pill for men

By Jane Weaver Health editor
updated 11/28/2006 8:05:29 PM ET 2006-11-29T01:05:29

When it comes to birth control, it may finally be the guy's turn.

British scientists are developing a male birth control pill that could put a smile on the faces of a lot of women, according to a report by NBC's Dawn Friesen on "Today" Tuesday. The hormone-free pill, which prevents the ejaculation of sperm, could be on the market in five years.

The pill, a single dose taken a few hours before having sex, affects contraction of the muscles that control ejaculation, but wouldn't interfere with performance or orgasm sensation, researchers at King's College London say. The result is a dry ejaculation.

"It’s not stopping sperm production," Dr. Christopher Smith told NBC News. "It’s not a hormonal method. It's just simply stopping the muscle which takes the sperm along."

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The scientists found the solution after noticing that drugs used in the treatment of schizophrenia and high blood pressure were effective at preventing ejaculation, according to a report in the British newspaper "The Guardian Unlimited."

The pill would be more user-friendly than other male contraceptive methods such as vasectomy, injections or implants, researchers told NBC. 

"Within half a day, the sperm is on the move again," says Smith.

If the pill passes clinical trial, it could be a significant benefit for people who are anxious about long-term effects from hormones.

But if men can’t remember to take out the garbage, will they remember to take the birth control pill? Moreover, some men, worried that it could damage their virility, may object to taking any kind of pill.

"We know from international research that men want to take part in fertility control," Rebecca Findlay from the London Family Planning Association told NBC. "It could be quite liberating for couples.

The pill would not prevent sexually transmitted diseases, she said.

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