After decades of promising starts and dead ends, there's still no male equivalent of the female birth control pill. It's just not that easy to make an effective, safe, cheap, targeted, well-tolerated, bioavailable, easy-to-manufacture, side-effect-free, and (whew) completely reversible drug to block the production of sperm cells. In the past few years, though, biologists have opened up some new genetic and molecular leads for disrupting spermatogenesis, and there's optimism among reproductive scientists again. How close are we to the male pill this time? What pathways look promising? And will men really take it?
Join us for a live chat at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, 13 December, on this page. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts. The full text of the chat will be archived on this page.
Diana Blithe is the Program Director for the Contraceptive Development Research Centers Program and the Male Contraceptive Development Program at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. She also serves as the Co-Director of the Contraceptive Clinical Trials Network, overseeing clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new contraceptive agents for men and women.
John Kenneth Amory
John Kenneth Amory is a Professor of Medicine and Section Head, University of Washington Section of General Internal Medicine. His research interests include the development of novel forms of male contraception and oral androgen therapy and new approaches to the treatment of men with infertility.
Sam Kean spent years collecting mercury from broken thermometers as a kid, and now he’s a writer in Washington, D.C.