Berkeley startup says it is developing first hormone-free birth control for both men and women

California researchers say they hope to develop and release the first unisex hormone-free birth control within the next six years.

YourChoice Therapeutics, a startup founded by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, is working to develop the contraceptive.

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UC-Berkeley’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Californian, reported Tuesday that the product, which the startup plans to release in 2025, would inhibit male sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg, in what’s known as the “molecular condom concept.”

The contraceptives are “highly effective” and “reversible,” according to the Daily Californian. Researchers said that they have been developing the concept over a decade of research. 

Hormonal contraceptives that are currently available are associated with a number of side effects, including increased risk of cervical cancer, blood clots and other health concerns.

Hormonal male contraception has been studied, but no products are yet commercially available, and some have been found to cause erectile dysfunction and reduced sex drive.