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Now, a contraceptive jab for men!

Now, a contraceptive jab for men!

The jab is a combination of testosterone and progesterone which reduces a man's sperm count.

London: Women have been awaiting it for years -- a contraceptive option for men to help them share the family planning burden.

And, now scientists at Edinburgh University have confirmed that such a contraceptive jab has proved successful in preventing unplanned pregnancies after tests in Scotland, 'The Scotsman' reported.

The World Health Organisation trial, involving 200 couples around the globe, uses a combination of the hormones testosterone and progesterone which dramatically reduce a man's sperm count.

The contraceptive, given in the trial in two jabs, works by reducing sperm counts from above 20 million sperm per millilitre to zero, and to less than one million in others, below the viable threshold for a pregnancy. This result provides better contraceptive protection than condoms, and a similar success rate to the female pill.

Prof Richard Anderson, who led the Scottish team, was quoted as saying, "The results are very encouraging and it has gone very well. Most of our couples will be finishing (the trial) over the course of the spring.

"A couple of other centres will go on the rest of this year, so it will be a while before we get a final analysis."

However, it will still need to satisfy researchers that it is effective on a large scale and does not have any unwanted side effects. A major barrier to the acceptance of male contraception has been the reluctance of men to undergo a

daily ritual.

But as the new injection technique only needs to be given every two months, it is hoped men will now accept a greater share of the responsibility for contraception.

It might also prove useful for couples who have had problems with other forms of contraception, or women worried about links between the pill and cancer, say the scientists.

"The first study I was involved in in this field we had to give the men an injection every week, which was enormously tedious by comparison. Every two months is more feasible," Prof Anderson said.

first published:February 07, 2011, 10:12 IST