Male birth control? UW seeking couples for study

SEATTLE — A new type of birth control for men is being tested in the Northwest.

UW Medicine Dr. Stephanie Page is leading the Seattle site of an international study on a male contraceptive gel.

Additional couples are being sought to participate in a study on the gel.

Men apply the gel to both shoulders once a day. The hormones in it gradually lower sperm production to a level where a pregnancy would be unlikely. It does not reduce sex drive.

The clear gel, which looks and feels like hand sanitizer, contains testosterone and progestin. The combination of hormones suppresses sperm concentrations.

Men who are concerned about having a low sperm count are assured that the effect of the gel is reversible within a few months.

“One of the really important points about this contraceptive gel, in contrast to some other methods that are available for men, is that we know it’s 100% reversible. So, when men stop using the gel, in 6 to 12 weeks their sperm count comes back, and they restore their fertility,” said Page.

The study will take about two years. Men will visit the clinic about 31 times and their female partner will visit about 10 times.

Men will apply the gel once daily. When the man’s sperm count drops to a level to prevent pregnancy, the couple will use the gel as their only form of contraception for one year.

The man’s sperm count will be checked regularly.

Men will stop using the gel and the study team will monitor the recovery of sperm production.

Men may receive up to $2,600 for their participation. Female partners may receive up to $840.

To get more details about the study, see if you qualify or to sign up, follow this link.