Clinical trials have officially begun on a male birth control gel. Not one you ingest, but a product that is applied to the arms and shoulders.
While the world is changing for the better, there are still so many areas which are not perfectly balanced between men and women. The world of work is a big one that is trying to be fixed as we speak. That in some professions, women do not get paid the same as men for doing the same job is absolutely baffling.
Another very different sphere in which the balance is off is the world of birth control. When it comes to medications, some of which can have serious side effects, it is pretty much exclusively down to women when it comes to birth control. Right now, there is no male form of it. Yes, there are physical forms of contraception such as condoms, but nothing in the form of a pill or something you have to take.
That may all be about to change. Scientists have been trying to develop a male form of birth control for years, and may now be on the verge of a breakthrough. Clinical trials have begun on a birth control gel that men apply to their arms and shoulders, reports Gizmodo. 420 couples are taking part in the trial and the male half will start by applying the gel every day for 20 weeks.
After that, the users' sperm count should have dropped so low that they are considered infertile. They will then continue to use the gel for another year, but not daily, only as and when they need to if you get what we mean. After that, the subjects will be monitored for a further six months where they don't use the gel to ensure that their sperm counts return to normal.
Promising news for the birth control world, but still something that is a long way off. These are only the first clinical trials for the gel so it will still be a number of years until it is on the market, if it makes it through numerous other hoops. The good news is if it does, it will likely be extremely affordable. That's because the research is being sponsored by the US federal government and non-profit organization the Population Council.