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Is Sperm-killing Ultrasound the New Male Contraceptive?

A study on rats reveals the sperm-reducing potential of sound waves.

spermA new form of male birth control may be well on its way to being developed, suggests a study by the University of North Carolina.

Their study involved non-invasive ultrasound treatment on male rats’ testes, resulting in the significant reduction in the rats’ sperm levels. It was found out that they could actually zap or kill sperm-creating cells to an index of zero with 2 15-minute sessions.

The amazing thing about the findings is that rats are extremely more fertile than humans. The resulting low sperm count of 3,000 motile sperm for milliliter or even fewer can still make them reproduce, but in humans, a male with this sperm count would already be considered infertile. In humans, a low sperm level would be anything below 15 million sperm per milliliter.

The researchers are looking into how long such an effect will last, if the results are reversible, and if the procedure is safe enough to be repeated multiple times.

Sources:

January 29, 2012. Jennifer Welsh. “Future Male Birth Control May Zap Sperm with Sound Waves” www.livescience.com

January 30, 2012. Rheana Murray. “Ultrasound kills sperm, could be the future of male birth control: study” nydailynews.com

January 31, 2012. Iva Roze Skoch. “Male birth control by killing sperm with ultrasound?” globalpost.com

Photo by bhav.bhav via flickr creative commons

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