A breakthrough in male contraception is on its way, and it's reversible.
This condomless, single-shot and nonhormonal male birth control, dubbed Vasalgel, showed promising results in its animal studies. The contraceptive is an addition to the few options of birth control for men.
While condoms are widely available to men worldwide, they still have an 18 percent pregnancy rate each year. Vasectomy, on the other hand, is the most effective means of male contraception, but it's irreversible. Once you get it, there's no turning back.
Vasalgel is a reversible birth control for men and is expected to be available by 2018. It's a highly molecular weight polymer developed by Parsemus Foundation.
It is directly injected to the vas deferens, the tube where sperm cells travel, and it blocks sperm from leaving the tube.
The animal study shows efficacy in preventing the sperm from travelling through the vas deferens. The rabbits, which were injected with Vasalgel, had no sperm in their semen as early as 29 days after the injection.
The contraceptive is nonhormonal, meaning there are no hormones in it compared to pills and hormonal implants in women.
Vasalgel was inspired by RISUG, another polymer contraceptive, but this method's reversibility studies have not been done on humans yet.
How Does It Work?
The polymer gel, which is injected to the vas deferens, blocks the passage of sperm cells through the tube to prevent pregnancy. The main advantage of this new method over vasectomy is that anytime a man wishes to have kids again, the gel could be flushed out of the tube by another injection.
Sperm cells are slightly bigger than water molecules, though they are really tiny that they can only be seen through a microscope. The polymer gel, when injected into the vas deferens, forms a semi-permeable barrier in the tube's inner lumen.
When the man ejaculates, the sperm cells' size doesn't allow them to pass through the tube, and they are reabsorbed in the body. Since the vas deferens is also where urine passes through, liquids like urine and semen can pass through the tube.
The animal trials showed the gel's efficacy but it hasn't been tested on humans yet. The company plans to try the gel on humans by the end of the year. By 2018, it might be out in the market.