A male contraceptive pill is in the works after funding boost
The burden of protecting against unwanted pregnancies continues to fall largely on women.
Researchers from the University of Dundee have gotten closer to developing a male contraceptive pill after receiving a funding boost from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The scientists are currently attempting to uncover suitable compounds that would help develop a safe contraceptive pill for men.
As it stands, the majority of contraceptive products - the pill, IUDs, the patch, the coil - are designed for women to use. There has been very little work done on developing male contraceptives beyond condoms.
The team at Dundee are attempting to counter this. Through their research, they have designed a miniaturised parallel testing system. This allows them to study the movement of sperm through a microscope and image processing tools.
All in all, this technology will allow them to show the key functions carried out by sperm when it leaves the body. These insights will be instrumental in the eventual development of a male contraceptive pill.
The university's professor of reproductive medicine Chris Barratt spoke about the impact the recent funding will have on their research.
He said: "There has been no significant change in the field of male contraception since the development of the condom.
"This means that much of the burden of protecting against unwanted pregnancies continue to fall upon women.
"We hope to address that inequality and we have already made progress, thanks to our previous round of funding received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation."
He continued: "By the end of this two-year period, we would like to have identified a high-quality compound that we can progress to the first stages of drug development.
"That would be a significant step forward for the field and could potentially be the key that unlocks a new era in male contraception."