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Edinburgh Uni are looking for couples to trial a new male contraceptive

Men will have to smear a gel on their arms daily

The University of Edinburgh is looking for couples aged between 18 and 34 and in a stable relationship to test out a groundbreaking new male contraceptive. It offers a promising alternative to the existing hormonal contraception that cripples so many women with its side effects.

The trial, led by researchers in Edinburgh and Manchester, will involve men applying a hormone gel to their upper arms and shoulders daily for two years. Participants will have to attend monthly appointments to monitor their sperm count, as well as reporting on how well the contraception is working for them and their partner.

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Lots of women struggle with the pill

The gel, called NES/T, combines progestogen, which acts on the brain to switch off sperm production, with testosterone, to reduce hormone-induced side-effects. Researchers say that the gel will reduce sperm count to zero without any effect on sex drive. It's expected to be more effective than condoms, which along with vasectomy are the only current methods of contraception available to men.

Professor Richard Anderson, of the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, said: “Previous trials have shown that hormonal contraception for men can be safe and effective. This trial allows men to self-administer a gel, which may be much more convenient and acceptable than needing repeated injections, as was the case with previous trials.”

It's yet unclear whether couples will be paid for their participation in the trial, but anyone keen can sign up by calling 0131 242 2669.