Saturday, April 14, 2012

How To Keep Yourself Sterile?

Fancy a night out without having to fabricate a layer of rubber on your genital?

Some forty years ago, in 1975, Mostofa Fahim and his group of researchers from the University of Missouri published a paper on male contraception--they were looking at contraceptive methods without resorting to condom.
Image: thejimhuntshow,com
They strapped anesthetized rats to a plexiglass platform and subjected their dangling scrota to various testing. Some of the animals got a 140-degree Fahrenheit water bath for 15 minutes, some received a dose of infrared radiation, some got a short blast of microwave or ultrasound. After the test, the males were free to copulate with females until they impregnated them.

Those had their scrota immersed in 140-degree Fahrenheit water didn't conceive for 35 days. Infrared-radiated scrota didn't conceive for 75 days. Microwave-radiated scrota weren't consistent, sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn't.
The ultrasound bunch, after a 5-minute exposure, went sterile for seven months.
Fahim then extended his study to include cats, dogs, monkeys and men, all of which yielded positive results. But his results were unable to be replicated by a high-powered researcher of his time so it was forgotten, until recently, when researchers started to replicate his experiment to good effect again. Last week, a group of researchers from the University of North Carolina published a study confirming the effectiveness of ultrasound on rats.

No one knows why ultrasound kills sperm. But we do know that heat does, which explains why testicles are located outside the body, but sound?

In Fahim's study, the tissue temperature after ultrasound was only 100-degree Fahrenheit, much lower than the 140-degree Fahrenheit water bath, but with much deadlier effect. He hypothesized that the ultrasound treatment affected the ion exchange of fluid of the testicles, which distorted sperm development.
So the next time you're partying on a tight budget, blow your scrotum with, well, a hair dryer for 15 minutes. It should be enough to keep you sterile for a week.

info: Therapeutic ultrasound as a potential male contraceptive: power, frequency and temperature required to deplete rat testes of meiotic cells and epididymides of sperm determined using a commercially available system. James K Tsuruta et. al, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2012, 10:7 doi:10.1186/1477-7827-10-7

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