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Male contraception proven effective in Chinese study.

Researchers from the Beijing-based National Research Institute for Family Planning (NRIFP) have reported a new method for male contraception that is seen as effective, reversible, and without serious side effects.

"For couples who cannot or prefer not to use only female-oriented contraception, options have been limited to vasectomy, condoms, and withdrawal," said Yi-Qun Gu, a professor with NRIFP's male clinic research department. "Our study shows a male hormonal contraceptive regimen may be a potential, novel, and workable alternative."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In a test trial, 1,045 healthy fertile males were injected monthly over a period of 30 months with 500 milligrams of a formulation of testosterone undecanoate in teaseed oil. The androgen works by dramatically reducing two regulatory brain chemicals, which in turn disrupts sperm production. During the 24-month study period, about 6.1 percent of men did not react to the treatment, and only 1.1 per 100 experienced contraceptive failure.

Mild side effects included weight gain and acne, and sperm counts returned to normal after the study. However, Gu said more testing will be necessary to ensure longterm safety, particularly with regard to cardiovascular and prostate health.

China's population continues to increase rapidly, from 1.27 billion people in 2000 to 1.32 billion today, according to the UN. The average annual growth rate is declining, but the government continues to face challenges in stabilizing the population at a 2020 target of 1.45 billion.

The illustrations for this Eye on Earth section were created by students in Glenna Lang's illustration class at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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Title Annotation:EYE ON EARTH
Author:Kuo, Gioietta
Publication:World Watch
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:May 1, 2010
Words:264
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