It appears we could have the next big advancement in contraception, with the invention of the ‘molecular condom’.
It all comes from the chemicals in Chinese folk medicine, and could act as a safer alternative to the typical hormone based contraceptives, according to scientists.
The chemicals, extracted from two plants, thunder god vine and aloe, are safe because when administered in low doses they have no affect other than stopping the sperm meeting the egg.
It works by stopping sperm’s power kick, which is normally caused by the hormone progesterone, secreted by cells surrounding the egg. This makes the sperm’s tail whip forcefully, and it is consequently propelled towards the egg.
According to researchers from the University of California (UC) Berkeley, the chemicals can be taken either before or after having sex, and used as emergency contraception. However, it could also be a more permanent contraceptive via a skin patch or vaginal ring.
Sperm takes about rive or six hours to mature once it is in the female system. Therefore there is more than enough time for the drug to be used and the effects to take place before it starts on its magical journey.
Contraception of the Future?
Obviously this is a way not to get pregnant and shouldn’t be confused with safe sex. Just because sperm is crap, doesn’t mean it won’t be infected. The only way to avoid STI’s is to use a real condom, end of.
Obviously more tests will need to be performed to see if it really does have the desired effect. But if it does, in the days of healthy living, a natural alternative to pumping yourself full of chemicals will go down a treat I think.
Obviously it will take time for it to become popular. Many people will stick with what they know in the short to medium term. It may be tough to say ‘oh, I have a new contraceptive, let’s try it out”. The response may be negative as unwanted pregnancies really suck, and not many want to act as a human guinea pig.
Still, once it starts to become popular, I feel it could definitely snowball.
Would I use it? Well, all I will say on that one is ‘you first!’.
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