Males may soon be using a contraceptive gel that stops sperm flow after it successfully passed tests in monkeys.
Vasalgel is injected in the tubes that sperms swim through to the penis, physically barring the male reproductive cells.
According to the pioneer company, the contraceptive has been tested for two years and termed safe to use, at least in the primates. It has the hopes of gathering sufficient evidence so that it can begin tests in men.
If the tests are well funded and prove fruitful, the gel will be available for a wider use by the male population.
This will be a unique contraceptive for the male generation, far from what we are used to.
Male Birth Control
As things stand at the moment, men have only two kinds of contraceptive. Wearing a condom is the most basic while an advanced form would be to undergo a sterilization operation. The operation, vasectomy, either seals the sperm-carrying tubes or cuts them.
The problem with sterilization operation is that once done, undoing it is not easy. However, vaslgel – whose effects are same as vasectomy – can be easily reversed should the male later on choose to have children.
The researchers have theorized that a second injection would dissolve the gel.
The initial test in rabbits has been successful but the same is yet to be tried in monkeys and man.
It’s worth noting that the reasoning of the gel is not a new idea. In a separate male birth control experiment – RISUG (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) operates in an exact manner.
Vaslgel differs from RISUG in that it doesn’t impair swimming sperm.
This new experimental contraceptive will merely block the path but allow other fluid to pass through, as explained by the manufacturer.
The two gels are similar in that they are given as an injection and are both meant to be long term contraception.
Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, said that the world all over would be interested in it. However, before trials begin in humans, it must be proved that it can be reversed.
“Long-term safety data are required before we will know if it is a success,” he said.