Researchers just discovered an “on-off” switch for sperm movement that could allow for the development of male birth control.
In the study, detailed in Science, researchers at UC Berkeley and Yale University found a simple switch that can transform any old sperm from a lazy to a vigorous swimmer. This could help men improve their fertility; and it could also help them turn their sperm “off.”
The secret is a hormone called progesterone which flips a switch, “allowing a rush of calcium into a sperm’s tail.” Researchers discovered that if they disabled a “certain class “ of enzymes, the sperm never switched on. After a long trial-and-error, they finally narrowed it down to one protein that has to be bound to to the progesterone to activate the sperm: ABHD2.
If researchers can disable this enzyme, they could control when a man is able to impregnate a woman. That could be a while but it’s worth it, considering how measly the other options are right now: Vasagel has to be injected into the vas defers while Adjudin has to be taken in very high doses in order to be effective.