The contraceptive pill for men has recently come to a step closer to existence. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made a generous donation of 1.5 million euros, hoping to give the University of Dundee, which has been researching male contraception for years, a boost.
The question has long been on the table: when will there finally be more contraception for men? Although several studies have been conducted into alternative contraceptives over the years, a breakthrough has not yet been made.
Perhaps that will now change. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a non-profit foundation of multi-billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates that aims to help fight poverty, disease, and inequality, is donating around one and a half million euros to the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom for their research into a safe and effective method of contraception for people with a prostate.
The University of Dundee has been researching a pill or something similar for men for some time now. Last year they developed a robot that helps them find ways to counteract sperm cells. No unnecessary luxury, because finding a substance that can sabotage sperm cells and is safe for other body cells is like looking for a needle in a haystack. A man produces about 1,000 sperm cells per heartbeat, which equates to 100 million cells per day. And that 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Try stopping that flow.
Last year, the University of Dundee robot was able to test 7,000 substances a day to see which ones effectively counter sperm cells, while human hands could only examine 10 a day. A previous donation partly financed that robot from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2018, worth about two million euros.
“We want to tackle the inequalities that exist in the contraceptive landscape, and we have certainly made progress,” said Chris Barrat, one of the researchers at the University of Dundee. He says that the team hopes to have discovered a substance within two years that they can use in the development of the new pill. “That would be a great leap forward, and perhaps even the key to ushering in a new era of contraception.”