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World's First Male Contraceptive Could Be Ready for Use in Just 6 Months

The male birth control injection will reportedly be effective for 13 years.

The responsibility of taking birth control may become a shared one in as soon as six months' time. Scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have just successfully completed clinical trials of the world's first-ever male contraceptive injection.

All that awaits the birth control's destiny is for the authorities to approve the drug. 

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If all goes well, the product could be on sale to men in just six months, and its effects will last as long as 13 years.

Finally, the weight of bearing the exclusive duty of taking birth control can be lifted from women's shoulders. Can you hear women across the world cheering in unison? 

The new male birth control

The ICMR, a government-funded biomedical research agency, has created this first-of-its-kind male contraceptive as a replacement for surgical vasectomies. Currently, this is the only method for male sterilization that exists today. 

According to the ICMR, the drug's effect would last as long as 13 years once injected, after which its potency wanes. 

Dr. R.S. Sharma, a senior scientist with ICMR, said "The product is ready, with only regulatory approvals pending with the Drugs Controller. The trials are over, including extended, phase 3 clinical trials for which 303 candidates were recruited with 97.3% success rate and no reported side-effects."

Those are rather high and positive results. 

Sharma added that "The product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive."

Hear, hear. 

What is the contraceptive, and where is it injected?

The contraceptive is a polymer called styrene maleic anhydride and it's injected into the vas deferens — the tube that contains sperm near the testicles — by a registered nurse. 

Before any males out there faint or run for the hills with the mention of an injection near their prized possessions; rest assured that before the injection happens a local anesthetic is administered to the area.

The story of male contraception is not a new one. In fact, it dates back to the 1970s when Prof. S.K. Gupta from the Indian Institute of Technology first developed the polymer. 

Since 1984, the ICMR has been exhaustively researching ways to turn the polymer into a drug for mass use. Now, 35 years later, it's finally passed its myriad testing phases and is ready for use.

Drugs Controller General of India, V.G. Somani, stated "I'd say it will still take about six to seven months for all the approvals to be granted before the product can be manufactured." 

It looks like what Prof. Gupta discovered in the 1970s may at long last be ready for use.

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