- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
No Low Dose Birth Control for Pancha-he's got Gandarusa
It all boils down to a bunch of leaves
When it comes to male birth control in Indonesia a bunch of leaves is proving promising!
Male birth control pill available next year in Indonesia?
Not so far away from my desk here in Oz, a 6ft tall leafy shrub called Gandarusa is growing in a forest on the eastern coast of Java. Gandarusa, used by the Indonesians as an herbal remedy for stress, has been found to also reduce fertility in men. Testing Gandarusa specifically for use in male birth control has been carried out at Airlangga University since 1987. With a 100% success rate to date, trials on 350 couples are expected to be completed by the end of this year which means 2012 could be the year that the ‘long laboured’ male birth control pill will be ‘born’, in Indonesia anyway.
How does Gandarusa work? It changes the chemistry of the enzyme on tip of each sperm making them unable to pierce the outer wall of the egg- if the enzyme is inactive or reduces the activity, the egg cannot be fertilized.
Don’t get too excited about Gandalusa being available in the states yet though. The FDA’s strict testing process could take years. The risk will be yours remember if you fancy a quick holiday in Indonesia to shop for Christmas stocking fillers!
Are there any side effects? - as I understand it, the good news for the guys is:
- few side effects, if any, reported
- no diminished libido reported – in fact quite the opposite with one guy!
- no altering of male hormones – wouldn’t ya know it?
- contraceptive effect is not permanent - fertility is reversed within 2 months after stopping the daily pill
The fact that this method is not permanent and possibly will not harm the body, should meet with the approval of the Islamic leaders but the age old question still remains-
Will men use it? In Indonesia (?) most men think contraception is a woman's responsibility (currently only condoms and vasectomy are used) fewer than 2% of men participate in birth control. Even if the male birth control was to be available to the world tomorrow, it still begs the question - how do we ‘sell’ a male birth control pill?
While guys and their ‘contraception careers’ are the flavour of the posts this week, I’ll bring you up to date on the current RISUG state of play in the next post.