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Therapeutic ultrasound could be used as a contraceptive method for men  (Source:
The method worked, but more research is needed to see how long infertility lasts

There are many ways to prevent conception, from temporary methods like condoms and birth control pills to more permanent techniques like a vasectomy. Now, researchers have found that ultrasound could finally be a noninvasive and effective addition to the list of contraceptive practices.

Dr. James Tsuruta, leader of the study from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, along with Dr. David Sokal of Family Health International and Dr. Min Wang of the University of Missouri, successfully used ultrasound on men as a form of contraception.

The team was able to do this by testing the method on rats. The rat testes were placed in a cup of saline, and using rotating high frequency ultrasound at 3 MHz on the testes for two, 15-minute sessions at two days apart, the testes were warmed to 37 degrees centigrade.

As it turns out, this method was effective in turning off the production of sperm. The sperm was reduced to a Sperm Count Index of zero. It worked because the testes need to be a bit cooler than the rest of the body in order to produce sperm correctly. Therapeutic ultrasound, which is used to heat joints in order to increase circulation, is an enhanced type of heat effect that warms the testes in such a way that it stops correct sperm production.

The only problem with this particular study is that it could not be funded long enough to tell when (if at all) fertility returned, although two or three months is the estimated time. Thankfully, other research teams around the globe took part in separate studies to show that ultrasound does work, and not only in rats. For instance, the Paresmus Foundation, a funder for the male contraceptive movement, which also funded Tsuruta's study, provided money to researchers at the University of California - Davis to perform the same study on monkeys. According to lead UC Davis researcher Dr. Catherine VandeVoort, they were able to successfully use ultrasound as a contraceptive in monkeys after three 30-minute sessions, which were two days apart. However, the process was a long and difficult one.

"We were pretty discouraged at first," said VandeVoort. "The monkeys didn't seem to mind the treatment a bit, but we were having a rough time of it. Thirty minutes of treatments three times a week is a lot of monkey testicular massage. We felt pretty silly, and it didn't help when the techs would come around and wonder what kind of research we were doing. We were relieved when we finally saw an effect."

Despite the trying and somewhat odd research, the UC Davis was the one team that was able to show that ultrasound contraceptive was reversible, which is important since many believed it may be an irreversible method. For instance, Dr. Raffaella Leoci, a veterinary researcher from the University of Bari in Italy, paid close attention to the previous two ultrasound studies from the U.S. and applied the method to stray dogs in Italy. After Monday-Wednesday-Friday sessions at five minutes a piece, the method worked, but still showed no signs of reversibility.

"As luck has it, we're the only ones who can show that ultrasound can be reversible," said Dr. Ted Tollner, a member of the UC Davis team. "The UNC team's rat study has the numbers, and they have beautiful histology data showing what's going on inside the testes. The Italian team was first to publish and showed ultrasound could be very effective in a large animal, not just rats. Together with our results showing the possibility of reversibility along with effectiveness in the closest animal to humans, it makes a pretty compelling package."

This isn't the first time ultrasound has been considered as contraceptive. The idea came about in 1975 when Dr. Mostafa Fahim of the University of Missouri effectively showed the effectiveness of ultrasound contraception in dogs, cats, rats, monkeys and eight human men. His partner in the project was Dr. Min Wang, who participated in the recent UNC study. However, Fahim's findings were later cancelled out by a more reputable researcher, Ronald L. Urry, who couldn't reproduce the findings. It was later discovered that Urry used different approaches than Fahim.

While ultrasound could be a viable option for those seeking alternatives to traditional contraception, more research is needed to see if fertility returns, and for how long after treatment. Therapeutic ultrasound is already in use, which would make the method easy to deploy, but more information could absolutely put the technique on the map soon.

The UNC study was published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.

Sources: Eurekalert, Eurekalert

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Lazlo Panaflex on 1/30/2012 2:15:35 PM , Rating: 5
Wife: "How was your day, dear?"
Husband: "oh, just fvcking great. I was massaging monkey balls for hours. How was yours?"
Wife: "..."
Husband: "Pass the potatoes"


RE: ...
By geddarkstorm on 1/30/2012 2:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
The things we do for SCIENCE!

RE: ...
By kleinma on 1/30/2012 6:35:07 PM , Rating: 3
I figured the wife would say

"Same here"

RE: ...
By FITCamaro on 1/30/2012 6:40:34 PM , Rating: 1

RE: ...
By phxfreddy on 1/30/2012 11:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
They call me Testicles!

( pronounced: Testic Kleez .... friend of Socrates )

100% effective
By vapore0n on 1/30/12, Rating: 0
RE: 100% effective
By Brandon Hill on 1/30/2012 3:05:14 PM , Rating: 3
RE: 100% effective
By MrBlastman on 1/30/2012 3:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
Those BJ's you're getting now... They don't last. Heads up. (no pun intended)

There is an inverse relationship between the number of BJ's you get and the length you have been with the female giving them. ;)

RE: 100% effective
By kattanna on 1/30/2012 4:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
im betting this is the "girlfriend"


RE: 100% effective
By JasonMick on 1/30/2012 4:55:39 PM , Rating: 4
Well the blowjob my gf gives me works 100%.
No need to get my balls massaged by some random old dude that likes to stick his finger up my ass too.

The "backdoor" and the "front entrance" are both time honored contraceptive techniques...

Likewise for the classic "tickling her fancy" with various appendages from a female pleasure end (or er... side of the fence... ugh puns)...

But human biology appears to intentionally decrease such pleasure-oriented sex in women once they "settle down" as the ultimate goal on a primal level is for them to make little pteradactyls (... I mean, noisy children) and spread their genome into the future.

By Zingam on 1/31/2012 7:09:46 AM , Rating: 2
Why don't you just kill all men? That's the best contraceptive.

This is such stupidity! Does anybody guess how many side effects this "Therapy" might have?

RE: ??
By wordsworm on 1/31/2012 9:17:19 AM , Rating: 3
The side effect is that you can't spawn children. I thought that was evident from the article.

RE: ??
By FaceMaster on 2/5/2012 4:39:42 PM , Rating: 2
I think that killing all men would have a fair few side effects as well...

You're never too old to be immature...
By CurseTheSky on 1/30/2012 3:06:09 PM , Rating: 4
...and Dr. Min Wang of the University of Missouri, successfully used ultrasound on men as a form of contraception.

Part of my brain is still in 4th grade, apparently, because something about someone named "Min Wang" helping people with contraception made me chuckle. :)

By JediJeb on 1/31/2012 1:12:35 AM , Rating: 2
At least his name wasn't Long Duck Dong.

This paragraph should not exist
By Adonlude on 1/31/2012 12:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
The rat testes were placed in a cup of saline, and using rotating high frequency ultrasound at 3 MHz on the testes for two, 15-minute sessions at two days apart, the testes were warmed to 37 degrees centigrade.

Nothing about this paragraph pleases me,

RE: This paragraph should not exist
By jeff834 on 1/31/2012 1:00:53 PM , Rating: 2
But all of it pleased the rats...

By delphinus100 on 2/1/2012 7:29:06 PM , Rating: 2
So, you prefer cold testicles...?

population decrease
By mackx on 1/31/2012 5:02:57 PM , Rating: 2
once there's a contraceptive shot or something that men can take and forget about then watch birth rates plummet as a woman "forgetting" to take a pill won't result in pregnancy any more.

RE: population decrease
By Pessimism on 2/1/2012 4:25:51 AM , Rating: 2

By jeff834 on 1/31/2012 1:00:06 PM , Rating: 3
"Thirty minutes of treatments three times a week is a lot of monkey testicular massage."

This raises the question: exactly how much monkey testicular massage is NOT a lot?

God gets quite irate!
By bigboxes on 1/31/2012 1:20:33 AM , Rating: 2
stops "correct" production?
By undermined on 2/1/2012 10:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
So what happens when it only stops the slow sperm that couldn't take the "heat making only really healthy sperm?

Or worse, it just damages production so if you do impregnate , the child is developmentally damaged because this method was half assed.

And how would that heating affect prostate cancer chances or rates.

A vasectomy seems like a safer solution than effectively cooking ones balls to kill the production of sperm.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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