A gel contraceptive for men is set to be trialled as scientists claim they have developed an ointment to rub onto men’s arms which can stop them impregnating women.
If proven the gel could replace the Pill and other treatments – but the developers need 80 brave couples in Manchester and Edinburgh to try it for two years.
The gel, called NES/T, is a hormone-based treatment designed to reduce sperm production without affecting libido
If it works, it could be available to others in three to five years.
Eighty men in relationships are being asked to test out the gel for two years with their partner
Edinburgh University’s Professor Richard Anderson — who helped develop it — said: ‘It will let men share responsibility for avoiding unwanted pregnancies and give control over when to become a dad.
‘And a gel may be more convenient than the repeated injections of previous trials.’
The team led by Professor Anderson was also behind the male contraceptive injection which was stopped because of side effects including acne – but had shown signs of working.
According to the developers sperm production can be stopped in four months
More than three million women currently take the contraceptive Pill (pictured). The rub on gel which is not shown could be released in three years
And, after stopping the usage, can return to normal after about six months.
Dr Cheryl Fitzgerald of Manchester’s St Mary’s Hospital, added: ‘Contraceptive options for men are limited to condoms and vasectomies.
‘This will let them control their fertility in a safe, simple way.’
At present, 11,000 men have NHS vasectomies each year and more than 3million women take the Pill.
Experts warned it should not replace condoms for casual sex because of the risk of spreading infections.
Dr Geoff Hackett, of the British Society of Sexual Medicine, added: ‘Many will welcome it.
‘But women are unlikely to rely on a man to use it correctly. That may be different in long-term relationships.’
Men aged between 18 and 50, who are in a stable relationship with a woman aged between 18 and 34, are invited to participate in the trial by calling 0161 276 3296 (Manchester) or 0131 242 2669 (Edinburgh).
‘Anyone who’s interested, we’ll be happy to hear from them straight away,’ said Anderson.