According to a study published by the University of North Carolina Health Care, a compound called EPO55 binds to sperm proteins to significantly slow the overall mobility of the sperm without affecting hormones, making EPO55 a potential "male pill" without side effects. The compound turns-off the sperm's ability to swim, significantly limiting fertilization capabilities," said lead investigator Michael O'Rand. "This makes EPO55 an ideal candidate for non-hormonal male contraception.
Currently, condoms and surgical vasectomy are the only safe forms of birth control currently available for men. There are hormonal drugs in clinical trials that target the production of sperm, but these affect the natural hormones in men much like female contraceptives affect hormones in women. "At 18 days post-infusion, all macaques showed signs of complete recovery, suggesting that the EPO55 compound is indeed reversible," said study co-investigator Mary Zelinski. Their teams have begun to test a pill form of the compound and will eventually conduct a mating trial of EPO55 s effectiveness against pregnancy.