It’s of no doubt that most contraceptive options today are solely for women. And even then, they all have certain limitations.
There is a now a new potential solution to the fact that they are very few male birth control options, and it comes from a surprising source. Believe it or not, a heart-stopping poison that dates back as far as the 3rd century BC. It was once used by warriors and hunters in Eastern Africa.
At the moment, birth control methods are divided into two categories, hormonal and non-hormonal. The classic birth control pill for women prevents pregnancy by altering hormones. Although mostly quite effective, they often cause many uncomfortable side effects, ranging from weight gain to even a risk of developing blood clots. With all things being said, birth control pills are not the safest option.
Non-hormonal birth control methods, like condoms or the female diaphragm come without side-effects, but are not always available or the most convenient. Furthermore, their effectiveness varies.
And although the birth control options for women may not be ideal, there are still more for women than there are for men. Men can use either a vasectomy, or a condom of course. This could soon change however with some hormonal birth control methods for men currently in the process of research and development.
The poisonous birth control method however, is another one that is currently being studied and is a non-hormonal option. The idea is that it would make it more difficult for sperm to move around.
Ouabain is a toxic substance that is found in African plants. With this, scientists plan on destroying the sperm’s journey to the egg. Many mammals even produce this substance themselves, and it is believed that it can regulate blood pressure. It is even given to certain patients with heart issues.
Ouabain is an effective poison since it blocks protein subunits in the heart which transport ions. So if you still have yet to understand why this poison is related to sperm, researchers have also found that the ouabain can also prevent the process of transporter subunit a4, which is found merely in mature sperm cells.
What researchers are faced with discovering is how to prevent the ouabin from reaching the heart, and ensuring that it serves only its purpose in the sperm cells. Also, since it effects only mature sperm cells, the effect won’t last forever and should be reversible, if one does want to eventually produce offspring.
The poison has so far only been tested on rats, and the findings did reveal that it did in fact make it more challenging for sperm to move, and did not effect the heart.
This may be a groundbreaking hormone free birth control for men. The team continues to research and prove that a 2,000 year old poison is the answer.