Is there any known substance that can sterilize a male?

Less specifically what about one time chemical castrations (ignoring a perfect sterilization)?

I heard about them before once but wasn't sure really.

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    $\begingroup$ Not planning anything, I hope? ;) $\endgroup$ – user15489 Sep 8 '15 at 2:27
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    $\begingroup$ @santiago I'm not looking for the chemical exactly, but just sources/confirmation that it exists. $\endgroup$ – William Sep 8 '15 at 2:33
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    $\begingroup$ RISUG claims to be perfect male contraception that can be reversed at any time. As for a one-time chemical castration, I'd be surprised if something like that exists, because you're basically asking to completely destroy the functioning of a single organ without affecting any others. That's a pretty tall order. $\endgroup$ – chipbuster Sep 8 '15 at 6:33
  • $\begingroup$ @chipbuster I think that's a good start - my reading of the question made me think about RISUG as well. Since there are few working chemical male contraceptives it's clear it's not a super-easy problem. $\endgroup$ – Geoff Hutchison Sep 8 '15 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ It appears to be used for sex offenders. $\endgroup$ – William Sep 8 '15 at 15:55

Numerous chemicals are linked with decreasing male fertility. In fact, studies suggest that unhealthy lifestyles and environmental factors (e.g. plasticisers in the water system) may be causing this decrease in fertility. See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/mens-health/10695991/Why-are-mens-sperm-rates-falling.html etc Obviously conclusive studies are limited at this stage.

But if you want to be more specific, I recall that chloroform is known to cause miscarriages and sterility in mice. Googling that to find a citation led me to this article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10969727 Which found evidence of an otherwise non-toxic antifertility agent for male rats.

To be honest, I would be surprised to find studies which have tested a anti-fertility drug on men. Such a thing should not make it past an ethics board (given the ability to prevent impregnation by far less drastic measures, e.g. condoms).

If however you were talking about the sort of chemical castration they did to someone like Alan Turing, they were not designed to sterilise him (heck, his 'crime' was homosexuality and children were not a likely outcome of that), but to alter his hormones and personality. Anyway, modern drugs might be something like Cyproterone acetate or Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate - though that is also used as a birth control drug for women.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 Thank you sir. I guess Chemical Castration is more of what I was looking for. Thank you for posting both. $\endgroup$ – William Sep 15 '15 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ Do you know how effective a chemical castration is for sterilization? $\endgroup$ – William Sep 15 '15 at 23:22
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    $\begingroup$ Testing an anti-fertility drug would not be impossible to get past an ethics board. For example, find volunteers (e.g., men looking for a vasectomy). $\endgroup$ – Geoff Hutchison Sep 16 '15 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ @GeoffHutchison although vasectomies are reversiblish. $\endgroup$ – William Dec 6 '16 at 3:13

Be it surgical or pharmacological, sterilization is a way to prevent conception, whereas castration is a suppression of the testes (emasculation). Infertility can be achieved with an intervention on the testes or on other reproductive organs (prostate, seminal vesicle, vas deferens).

Testes not only produce sperm but also androgen hormones (testosterone), which have a plethora of effects on the body, the behaviour, etc. Sperm is made from germ cells and testosterone is produced in Leydig cells.

Antiandrogenic interventions (hormonal or metabolic) will block testosterone (possibly irreversibly, see finasteride). This will affect sperm production, but will also result in androgen deficiency.

Cytotoxic chemicals used in chemotherapy (e.g. cisplatin) affect sperm production, which involves many germ cell divisions. But this is also likely to damage the Leydig cells.

Papaya extract action on sperm motility is reversible.


There are several ongoing studies for male contraceptives (have a look on Wikipedia). One of the big problems though is to reverse the effects.

VasalGel is thought to hit the market by 2018. It is a gel that physically blocks the sperm once injected in the vas deferens but can be washed out to revert its effects.


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