Golden Testicles, Male Contraception

Research is currently being conducted by Wen-qing Li to inject gold nano particles into a man’s testicles with an infrared laser as a form of male contraception.

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Golden particles are hypothesized to kill sperm cells but not sperm-producing cells if treated with low heat only and applied to the testicular tissue.  This would not be a permanent treatment, but rather a reversible contraception, because it would allow for the male to still produce sperm.  Although if the testicular tissue is heated too high, the golden particles would permanently damage a male’s sperm-producing cells and shut down sperm production, which would lead to sterilization.

Mice have already been subjected to testing these sperm-killing microscopic gold flakes and the results have shown that, by warming up the mice’s testes they were able to cut male fertility by 90 percent for one week and by 50 percent for two months, while turning up the heat a few more degrees caused complete sterilization.  An argument among scientists is that males may have less side effects because the technique does not manipulate hormone levels.  Chemical & Engineering News also reports that not only will the method be reversible and non-surgical, but it will also be low-cost.

Time will tell if this male contraception method gets approved and golden testicles will take a prominent seat in the birth control market.

 

[Source – Smithsonian Smart News]

 

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