Researchers Use Ultrasound as a Male Contraceptive Therapy

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A team of scientists at the University of North Carolina have found a novel way to cut sperm counts to levels that would make men infertile.

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Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have successfully tested ultrasound treatment to reduce sperm counts in rats to levels that would cause infertility in men. They used commercially available therapeutic ultrasound equipment, with which they tested the effects of different frequencies, temperatures, and duration of ultrasound treatment on the sperm count. The results are published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.

The first report of the effect of ultrasound on germ cells and fertility was produced back in the '70s by Mostafa Fahim and colleagues at the University of Missouri at Columbia. The aim of the new study was to determine the effect of currently available ultrasound equipment and if this technology could be used as the basis for a male contraceptive in the future. Their findings show an optimal result with two consecutive ultrasound treatments at 3 MHz, 2.2 Watt per square centimeter, for a duration of 15 minutes at a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius when the sperm count in the rat model dropped to a level that would cause infertility in men.

Advantages of ultrasound are the non-invasive nature of the treatment and its efficacy. However, at this moment not much is know of the long-term therapeutic prospects and side-effects of this treatment. In any case, this research has presented ultrasound as a potential basis for male contraceptive in the future and we will have to wait on the results of research to confirm this. And to guard your male fertility in the meantime, make sure your groin stays clear of ultrasound transducers.


This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.

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