A team of scientists announced that they had successfully developed a male contraceptive in the form of a pill that displayed 99 percent effectiveness in mice without any noticeable side effects.

The experimentation on the lab mice was so successful that the team of scientists has declared that they will on to the next phase, which will be centered around human trials, by the end of this year. If the gradual stage of testing is deemed a success, this contraceptive would be the first-ever male birth control pill. The exciting new advancement will be presented by MD Abdullah Al Norman — an alumnus from the University of Minnesota — at the American Chemical Society’s spring meeting. One of Norman’s biggest tasks was figuring out a way to avoid the side effects that were caused by the hormones in the female equivalent of the drug. In order to sidestep any mishaps, such as weight gain, depression, and increased heart disease risks, Norman aimed to develop a non-hormonal birth control pill for men. A special type of medication that relies heavily on Vitamin A and a human gene called the Retinoic acid receptor (RAR) alpha.

In order for the male birth control pill to actually reach the public, RAR-alpha needs to convert Vitamin A into various forms, like retinoic acid, sperm formation, and embryo development. So far, tests have revealed that the lab mice without the gene that creates RAR-alpha are infertile but there is still more work that needs to be done. If the clinical trials continue to go according to plan, human testing for the contraceptive pill should begin sometime around the third or fourth quarter of 2022.