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Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Get Your Hopes Up About a New Male Pill

18/03/2016 17:38 GMT | Updated 19/03/2017 09:12 GMT

1. Work on the male pill began in the 1920's when scientists managed to control sperm production in rats by manipulating their pituitary glands.

2. In the 1950's, Dr. Marthe Voegeli discovered that soaking the testes in hot water at 116˚ F (46.7˚ C) once a day for three weeks resulted in 6 months of infertility.

3. In the 1990's scientists developed a version of the male pill using the female sex hormone progestogen with three monthly injections of testosterone to counteract 'feminizing' side effects. It didn't catch on.

4. In 2002 there was a huge fuss about NB-DNJ, a drug which proved to be very effective at rendering mice infertile. Only mice.

5. Then there was reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG) which involved an injection into the testicles. Ouch.

6. And what about the Clean Sheets Pill? It works by suppressing which means that men experience a dry orgasm. Really.

7. The latest 'male pill press release', for that is all they ever seem to amount to, is the brainchild of Dr. Gunda Georg, head of the University of Minnesota's College of Pharmacy. In 2013, she received $4.7 million to work on male contraception, and two days ago, at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting, she revealed that by tinkering with an existing male oral contraceptive, her team had made some progress in finding a non-hormonal pharmaceutical solution to prevent sperm reaching maturity.

8. That exciting 'breakthrough' went viral, but Georg also mentioned that the changes they made to the compound reduced "the specificity of the compounds for the intended retinoic acid receptor-α target".

9. In plain English, that means the new drug affects all sorts of cells in the body, not just the ones involved with creating sperm.

10. Once they fix that particular Frankenstein...