By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — With an another $3 million in funding from the National Institute of Health, the Lundquist Institute is recruiting 120 more couples to test a promising form of male birth control.

The Lundquist Institute at UCLA’s Geffen Medical School says it has been conducting clinic trials on a transparent gel applied daily to the skin of the man’s shoulders that works to replace the testosterone that is normally produced by the body. Over time, the gel reduces a man’s sperm but allows it to resume at normal levels within a few months of discontinuing daily use.

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“It’s been amazing to track each couple’s progress and see how month after month, the majority of men are not negatively impacted by using this gel as their primary birth control method,” Drs. Christina Wang and Ronald Swerdloff, investigators in the study, said in a statement.

One of the 48 couples recruited so far in Los Angeles, Eilen and Stephen, decided to take part in the study in because she was tired of the side effects of the multiple birth control options available to her.

“It’s gone well so far. No issues,” Stephen told the institute, which said he experienced minor changes in libido early on during the trial, but it did not bother him or Eilen and resolved itself quickly. “We’ve had a really great experience.”

The funds from the NIH will allow the Lundquist Institute to continue expand the trial to more than 120 more couples, to be recruited at research facilities around the nation, including at UC Davis, and internationally. Eligible men must be between 18 and 50 years old, while the women must be between 18 and 34 and having regular menstrual cycles.

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At the start of trial, the male partner will start using the study medication while using another form of birth control of their choice. When the man’s sperm count is determined to be low enough, a stage that typically takes up to four months, the couple begins using the study contraceptive gel as their only form of birth control for the next 12 months.

Men will have to undergo a monthly checkup that includes sperm-count testing and testosterone monitoring, while his female partner will undergo a checkup every three months that can be conducted remotely.

After the 12 months, the man stops using the study contraceptive gel and continues to be monitored until his sperm count returns to normal range, which the institute says can typically take about four months.

The trials are expected to be completed by 2023. There is no cost to the couples who participate, and they will be compensated for their time and travel following each completed phase of the study.

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Couples interested in participating in the full two-year clinical trial can get more information or sign up by emailing Michael Massone at Michael.Massone@lundquist.org or visit menshealth-lundquist.org.