Scientists may have discovered a new male contraceptive: zapping sperm with a dose of ultrasound.
According to a study carried out on rats, small doses of ultrasound applied to the testicles can stop the production of sperm, lowering it to levels that would leave humans infertile. The revelation was described by researchers as a “promising candidate” in contraception.
However, it’ll be some time before we see men queuing to have their genitalia zapped, as further test(e)s are required before this method can be used. Lead researcher Dr James Tsuruta points out:
“Further studies are required to determine how long the contraceptive effect lasts and if it is safe to use multiple times.”
That said, ultrasound as a contraceptive is not a new idea. The concept was first put forward in the ’70s, and is only now being tested by researchers at the University of North Carolina. The group working on the research received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The findings of the research team suggest the treatment works best when delivered two days apart. It was discovered two 15-minute doses were enough to “reduce significantly” the number of sperm-producing cells. In rats, the sperm count dropped to below 10 million sperm per milliliter – humans are said to be infertile when the count drops to below 15 million sperm per milliliter.
Any chaps out there think this sounds a little less stressful than current male contraceptives?