The new treatment – simply applied like a lotion – promises to a reversible birth control option in much a similar way.
The Los Angeles Biomedical Research Insititute mixed the male hormone testosterone with a synthetic chemical called Nesterone for the formula, and control tests showed the majority of men ended up with a reduced sperm count.
Researchers said that the sperm count for 89 per cent of the men in the study was reduced to less than one million sperm per millilitre, comparable to ‘very low pregnancy rates’.
There was a complete absence of sperm production for 78 per cent of men.
Just 23 per cent of men had a low sperm count when treated just with testosterone.
According to the Huffington Post, similar formulas have been made before, but needed to be administered through pills, implants or injections, compared to the gel, which can be applied at home discreetly and without fuss.
The Nesterone, a progestin which helps the body absorb gormones, helps increase the effect of testosterone, which in turn reduces the production of sperm.
The additional benefits of Nesterone over similar chemicals is it does not cause side effects, such as acne.
From the results, the ‘male pill’ is not as successful as the female pill, which has a pregnancy rate of 0.3 per cent per year.
It also leaves 10 per cent of men with a high sperm count.
However, if the gel is improved further, it may lead to commercial release and another option for those who do not wish to have children.