Male birth control pill could be closer to becoming reality, study finds

NEW YORK -- The birth control pill is nearly 60 years old. But there's never been one for men, and Dr. Stephanie Page, with the University of Washington, says it's about time.

"One of the issues for men is that they really have very few options of available," she said.

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Dr. Stephanie Page

CBS News

Page conducted a small study showing a male birth control pill, which mimics testosterone, was safe when given daily for a month. It dramatically lowered testosterone levels with no change in mood or sexual function at the end of the month.

"The brain, which is important in sex drive, maintain muscle, all of those important male characteristics are maintained by the hormone that we're giving the men," Dr. Page said.

But will it work as birth control? Normally, in men, hormones from the brain stimulate the production of testosterone and sperm. The male pill works by blocking those brain hormones, which then lowers testosterone levels and, is expected to shut down sperm production.

"So we know we need to really block sperm production, so the key here is really bringing down the sperm concentrations to very minuscule levels," Page said.

Social media weighed in, one woman writing: "Let's let our men take one for the team, for once." One man tweeted: "Not sure relying on us boys to take it is such a good idea."

The next step is a study to see if the pill not only lowers testosterone, but also lowers sperm count enough to be an effective form of contraception. Although this pill won't be hitting the market any time soon, the science looks promising.

  • Jonathan LaPook

    Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the chief medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook