In some infertile women, some antibodies are directed against the sperm in a way that incapacitates it. Mimicking this condition may lead to a new form of non-hormonal contraception.
The cause of infertility could be reproduced to prevent pregnancy in nonsterile women
Researchers in the US have used one form of infertility as the basis for a new, non-hormonal method of contraception. This is because some women have antibodies that detect and neutralize spermatozoa. Their immune system is directed against these foreign cells, making it impossible to have a baby without medical help. In fact, knowing how to reproduce this type of infertility could lead to the development of an alternative to current contraceptives that women use.
The researchers found these antibodies, known as sperm-binding monoclonal antibodies, and added additional binding fragments to an antigen commonly found in human sperm. Each antibody had six to ten additional fragments. This made them 10 to 16 times more potent and faster at agglutinating sperm together, the study authors write.
A nonhormonal alternative
So far, these researchers have not studied the effectiveness of this contraceptive in women. However, when injected directly into the sheep’s vagina, these antibodies significantly restricted sperm movement: up to 99.9%. And this with only 33 μg of the product.
Whether it is for women who can’t tolerate hormonal contraceptives or for those who simply don’t want them, this contraceptive could be a godsend. Of course, the authors point out that it is first necessary to test its effectiveness and tolerability in women, but this trial on sheep offers great hopes that a product will be developed in the near future.
Women today have many options for contraception however a nonhormonal-based product is a welcome news. Keep in mind though that these types of contraceptives can not protect against STDs such as HIV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea thus using preservatives is still the safest option.
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