Good Vibrations

We are reluctant, and we mean that, to report that researchers have stumbled upon what they are calling a potentially effective, inexpensive and (mostly) harmless method of male birth control, really a holy grail of sorts for contraception.

  • Of course, by “stumbled upon” what they really mean is that researchers have known about this simple treatment for four decades and, presumably because it is so much easier to let women worry about birth control, are only getting around to it now.
  • Of course, by “inexpensive,” what they really mean is that now they think they can finally make some money off the idea.
  • And, of course, by “(mostly) harmless” what they really mean is that it certainly seems that way when you are doing it to laboratory rats.

But it is science, so let us give them a break. It turns out that if you apply 1 to 3 megahertz of ultrasound — that is on the low end of what would be experienced by a pregnant woman — to a man’s saline-soaked jubblies, you end up seriously discombobulating the “boys.” In clinical terms, this is referred to as depleting the “spermatocytes and spermatids” and reducing the “epididymal sperm reserves.” In real life, we’re guessing, you would just feel silly having your squirrel food snug in someone’s laboratory equipment.

But kinectically activating the kanakas is no sophomoric joke. It thins the duck butter to just 3 million fighting men per load. That might seem like a lot, but researchers refer to it as a “Sperm Index Count of zero,” which you have to admit sounds pretty good for birth control you could (not really) rig up from a dollar-an-hour motel bed. Judgy doctors usually tell you that you have a low sperm count if it drops under 20 million per milliliter, which obviously is a case of swollen apples to distended oranges.

Anyway, the optimal magic-finger treatment for the love apples, in turns out, is two 15-minute sessions of “3 MHz ultrasound at 2.2 Watt per square cm” with a two-day breather in between. In other words, not much different from what doctors tell old men before they go to Vegas.

Researchers are not totally convinced, of course. A few things have to be checked out first, including, not surprisingly, the potential long-term effects of vibrating your clangers, and whether this whole thing can be turned around so women have to do it instead.

via RB&E | Abstract | Therapeutic ultrasound as a potential male contraceptive: power, frequency and temperature required to deplete rat testes of meiotic cells and epididymides of sperm determined using a commercially available system and Sonicating sperm — the future of male contraception.

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