Scientists are beginning tests to
see if ultrasound can be used as a reversible contraceptive for men.
Based on early work, University of
North Carolina experts believe a blast of ultrasound to the testes can safely
stop sperm production for six months.
With a grant of US$100,000 from the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation they will push ahead with more clinical
The researchers ultimately hope it
could offer a new birth control option to couples throughout the world.
Lead researcher Dr. James Tsuruta
said: “We think this could provide men with up to six months of reliable,
low-cost, non-hormonal contraception from a single round of treatment.
“Our long-term goal is to use
ultrasound from therapeutic instruments that are commonly found in sports
medicine or physical therapy clinics as an inexpensive, long-term, reversible
male contraceptive suitable for use in developing to first world
Once the testis has stopped
producing sperm and all “sperm reserves” have been depleted, explain
the researchers, the man will be temporarily infertile.
Their Grand Challenges Exploration
Grant project aims at fine-tuning this technique for maximum effect and safety.