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Bio-technology may one day mute the abortion debate by curtailing the number of unintended pregnancies. The possibility of developing an effective male contraceptive just improved.
Scientists from Monash University, the University of Newcastle, John Curtin School of Medical Research and Garvan Institute of Medical Research, in Australia; and the University of Cambridge, in the UK have advanced research that could lead to a male contraceptive. They discovered a genetic mutation in a protein (RABL2) that shortens a sperm cell’s tail and limits its ability to swim. According to an article published October 8, 2012 in Genetics (Medical Xpress), “In laboratory tests, the team found that a mutation in RABL2 resulted in sperm tails that were 17 per cent shorter than normal. Dysfunctional RABL2 also negatively affected sperm production, resulting in a 50 per cent decrease. “
According to the report, RABL2 also works with other molecules known as intraflagellar transport proteins that carry genetic cargo along the sperm tail. Dysfunctional RABL2 results in lower sperm counts as well as sperm structure that reduces a its potency as well as its motility. With these insights it may be possible in the future to develop a pill that inhibits this protein. The prospect is not straight forward, however, because lower concentrations of RABL2 is also found in other organs. The trick would be to find a way to inhibit it only in the testes.
DATA DRIVEN VIEWPOINT:
The development of a male contraception should be a welcome, even an urgent goal for pro-life advocates. A male contraceptive pill would greatly reduce the number of abortions in the United States and bypass most religious based objections to post-fertilization contraceptives methods currently available for woman.
As it stands now, people have been fruitful and have multiplied to the point where human population is creating enormous stress on the planet’s ecosystems. There are more people alive today than have already died in the past. And population growth is still rising exponentially. It is a mathematical certainty that we either take control of our population growth or nature will do it for us in ways that could lead to our extinction. Any advances in contraception and increased ability of families to control reproduction is welcome news.