Immunocontraceptives: How far from reality?


1 Department of Biochemistry, Pt. B. D. Sharma PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana, India

2 Department of Pediatrics, Pt. B. D. Sharma PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana, India

3 Department of Pathology, Pt. B. D. Sharma PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana, India


Despite high expectations of safer, effective, economical, longer acting contraceptives, to date, there are no licensed contraceptive vaccines available in the market. Nevertheless, a role for vaccines undoubtedly exists as an aid to birth spacing and as a nonsurgical means of generating sterility. The research concerned in the area so far has been successful on the feline population, with room still for exhaustive studies on humans. The future of contraceptive vaccines holds great promise in terms of comfort, price, efficacy, rare complications, and possibly nonselective action on animal populations as well as on humans. This brief review deals with the basic aspects of immunocontraceptives along with the efforts done so far. There is a need for further research in aspects involving the rate of evolution of contraception resistance based on genetics, resistance phenotypes, or cross generation effects. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone and luteinizing-hormone have not been investigated in humans, as both reported impotency in animals; the follicle-stimulating hormone has been shown to cause oligospermia; zona pellucida has also not been studied in humans as it causes irreversible oophoritis, while the sperm has the potential for success in humans based on the data from immunoreproductive studies. Even as the position of the human chorionic gonadotropin vaccine looks hopeful, research on other possible targets continue with an eventual aim of discovering a vaccine that is more immunogenically effective.


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