Developed a new birth control method for men
A research team from the Institute of Reproductive Medicine at Nantong University in China believe they can invent a new method of contraception for men.
Researchers who conducted experiments on mice discovered that they could lower the fertility level by heating the testicles through nanoparticles.
While there are various methods of contraception for women, there are only two methods commonly used in men: Condoms and vasectomy. On the other hand, both methods come with disadvantages.
While condoms can break and cause allergies, vasectomy, which is performed by cutting or ligating the sperm ducts, is a painful and difficult surgical procedure.
The research team in China has therefore been investigating for some time whether it is possible to reduce fertility by heating sperm.
The team’s first effort, started in 2013, had failed. In that study, a tube-like particle 120 gold atoms long and 30 gold atoms in diameter was injected into the testicles of mice.
These gold nanorods were then heated with infrared radiation to 30 degrees to 45 degrees Celsius.
While this method has proven to be reliable in reducing fertility, the radiation caused heat lesions in the skin surrounding the mice’s testicles. Therefore, the researchers concluded that the procedure could be painful.
In the research published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nano Letters, a different method was tried, again using nanoparticles.
This time, magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, which can eventually be completely expelled from the body, were used and injected into the veins of the mice.
Then, a magnet was placed near the testicles so that the particles could reach the sperm and left for 4 hours.
After one to four days of injections, an electric coil was wrapped around the testicles. This mechanism heated the iron oxide to 36 to 45 degrees.
After the application, it was observed that the sperm count of the mice decreased. Fertility levels of those exposed to relatively lower temperatures returned to normal after 60 days.
The researchers noted that the number of offspring born from these individuals was almost the same as those that were not exposed to the procedure, and none of the offspring had any visible morphological defects.
However, this method also required great precision. The more heated testicles (depending on how much iron oxide was injected and how heated) in the experiment showed “pronounced color changes”.
The testicles of these individuals were severely damaged on day 7, and those heated above 45 degrees never recovered.
Fei Sun, the lead author of the article, told Jeffrey Mo of the University of Toronto School of Public Health that this method can be used especially for pets that do not want to undergo sterilization.
The Conversation, VICE