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The quest for an effective chemical birth control for men may be nearing its ultimate goal. Headlines broke today about a research team led by

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With a Male Birth Control Gel in Testing, Here are Five Other Ways to Reduce Sperm Counts

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The quest for an effective chemical birth control for men may be nearing its ultimate goal. Headlines broke today about a research team led by Dr. Christine Wang of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center that has apparently developed a birth-control gel for men that at least one study has shown to drastically reduce sperm counts when applied topically. While further testing is needed, many are encouraged by the early results.

As noted by the LA Times, the gel is a combination containing good ol' fashion testosterone and a synthetic progestin called Nestorone. Alone, testosterone can clamp down on the body's making of sperm by ceasing production of the hormone controlling its production. Progestin can amplify these effects.

The LA Times notes of the testosterone/progestin combo:

The two have been used together in the past in pills, implants or shots, but progestin has androgenic effects that can produce side effects such as acne and changes in cholesterol levels. Nestorone is a new synthetic progestin, developed by the Population Council, that apparently does not have those side effects.

According to the LA Times account, 99 men were enrolled in a preliminary study of the drug combo, with a third receiving a gel containing testosterone and a placebo, which was to be applied daily for six months. The rest of the lucky men received a gel containing testosterone and one of two concentrations of Nestorone. The Times reports that 56 men completed at least 20 weeks of the study, and more importantly followed the protocol.

The results:

Wang reported at a Houston meeting of the Endocrine Society that 88% to 89% of the men receiving the drug combination achieved a sperm concentration of less than 1 million sperm per milliliter, "a level that is compatible with very low pregnancy rates," compared with only 23% of those receiving the placebo. A complete absence of sperm occurred in 78% and 69% of the men receiving the drugs (depending on dose), compared with 23% of those receiving placebo.

Here at Seattle Weekly we're all for the development of effective chemical birth control for men. But while we're intrigued by the findings mentioned above, we would like to point out other, more local and natural ways of reducing one's sperm count and/or preventing pregnancies.

Such as ...

Smoking Weed out of a Mountain Dew Can

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Championed by high school stoners everywhere, the Mountain-Dew-can method of male birth control is time-tested if not actually supported by science. Or at least I tested it plenty in high school, without one pregnancy to my name. Of course, I was also spending far more time smoking weed out of a Mountain Dew can than I was having actual sex. Perhaps more testing is needed.

Our list of ways local men can reduce their sperm count continues on the following page ...

Sitting Through a Mariners Game

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Almost nothing will lower one's sperm count (not to mention will to live) more than sitting through an entire nine innings of Mariners baseball. There's literally no telling how many pregnancies have been averted thanks to Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong.

Xbox

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As conservatives love to point out, the surest method of preventing births is avoiding sex all together. While that's difficult for most, it becomes a whole lot easier when you're stationed in front of your giant TV for 12 hours at a time playing World of Warcraft. At that point, a person is about as far from sex as they can get.

Our list of ways local men can reduce their sperm count continues on the following page ...

A Mayor McGinn Press Conference

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Seattle's mayor is thoughtful. He's informed. He realizes the varying causes behind some of our city's most pressing problems and is deliberative in his approach to tackling them. The only thing is McGinn's bearded pragmatism inspires almost no one. And it sure as hell doesn't inspire the production of sperm.

Beer by Yourself

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The Northwest is home to some of the best beer in the world - from countless tasty microbrews to trustee Rainier. And while studies show that alcohol can lead to sex, which, of course, can lead to pregnancies, if there's one thing we know from personal experience about drinking too much beer all alone it's that the wife/girlfriend/significant other will be highly uninterested in sexual escapades in the aftermath of such an evening.

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