Male contraceptive pill

Dr Lisa Beckett FRACGP

March 2022

It takes two to have a baby (well, most of the time) but preventing one usually falls to the woman.

While there are many effective choices available for contraception, almost all of these involve the female partner. Men’s choices have always been limited to condoms and vasectomies - until now. It was recently announced that there may soon be a male contraceptive pill. 

How does it work? (the science bit)

The 'male pill' (a compound known as YCT529) targets a protein called retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR-α). RAR-α binds to a form of Vitamin A that affects how sperm develop.

A recent study showed mice taking YCT529 became infertile. After a month the contraception was 99% effective - with no side effects. After stopping the pill the mice became fertile again within 2-4 weeks.

So when will it be available?

While it all sounds amazing, it’s important to keep in mind the studies have only been trialed in mice so far. There is hope that clinical trials may start later this year and if successful, a male pill may be available within 5 years.