A contraceptive treatment for men is being put to the test and researchers are seeking couples in Edinburgh and Manchester to take part in a groundbreaking study.
Scientists are looking for people willing to try a new contraceptive gel that has been developed as part of a major international project.
Called NES/T, it suppresses sperm production in men if used daily, with the product applied to their upper arms and shoulders.
As many women can experience uncomfortable side effects from traditional contraceptives such as the pill, researchers have been looking for alternatives.
The gel has been developed as part of an international project funded by the US National Institute of Health and led by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
In the UK, work is being done by Saint Mary’s Hospital, which is part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Richard Anderson, of the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, said: “Previous trials have shown that hormonal contraception for men can be safe and effective.
“This trial allows men to self-administer a gel, which may be much more convenient and acceptable than needing repeated injections, as was the case with previous trials.”
Dr Cheryl Fitzgerald, consultant gynaecologist at Saint Mary’s Hospital, who is leading the study in Manchester, said: “Currently the contraceptive options for men are limited to condoms and vasectomies. We believe this preparation will allow men to control their fertility in a safe and simple way.”
Men aged between 18 and 50 who are in a stable relationship with a woman aged between 18 and 34 are invited to be part of the trial by calling 0161 276 3296 (Manchester) or 0131 242 2669 (Edinburgh).
The two-year trial will require them to use the gel as their sole method of birth control, with the men taking part attending at monthly clinics to monitor sperm production.