Male Contraceptive Gel 100% Effective in Primate Trials

Vasalgel rendering (The Guardian)

Vasalgel rendering (The Guardian)

If you’re yearning for male birth control that isn’t a condom, you’re in luck! Scientists have been making progress on Vasalgel, a male contraceptive gel. A recent trial of the product on primates found the gel to be 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.

It’s pretty simple how Vasalgel works: the gel prevents sperm from exiting the penis. If a man decides he’d like to stop using the gel, the effects can be eradicated by using ultrasound waves to dissolve the gel. Vasalgel doesn’t affect “sperm levels or hormone production.”

Here’s how the study, conducted by scientists at the California National Primate Research, was set up:

For the study, 16 rhesus monkeys were selected to undergo the procedure before being placed back into groups with fertile females during mating season. After being monitored for six months, the researchers found that no pregnancies had occurred—the typical pregnancy rate in such unaffected conditions is usually around 80 percent.

The Parsemus Foundation funded the research for the study. Results were published in Basic and Clinical Andrology journal.

Vasalgel isn’t the only contraceptive gel being tested right now. In India, reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG) is being tested on men. This gel works differently in that it seeks to injure swimming sperm. RISUG has shown to be effective for up to 10 years within the 200 men on whom the product was tested.

(Reversible) Male Birth Control Could Be Available in 2018

Male birth control (The Chicago Tribune)

Male birth control (The Chicago Tribune)

Whoa! Scientists recently made a discovery that puts us nearer to a male birth control method. And said method might even be available by 2018!

Here are the deets: Scientists at the Parsemus Foundation have developed a “non-hormonal male contraceptive,” which they’re calling Vasalgel. It’s a gel which gets injected into a man’s testicles. Once inside, the gel forms a protective barrier that prevents sperm from leaving the vans deferens (located inside the testicles).

Vasalgel explainer graphic (Tech Times)

Vasalgel explainer graphic (Tech Times)

So far, the gel has only been through animal testing, specifically on rabbits. Of the 12 rabbits tested, 11 revealed no traces of sperm within their semen within 29 days of receiving the injection. (That twelfth rabbit’s semen cleared of sperm soon after.) The effect endured throughout the 12-month study.

Another important aspect: it’s reversible! Scientists were able to inject a second gel into seven of the rabbits, and their sperm “rapidly” returned.

What does this mean for human men? It looks so promising, right? Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a couple of years. Scientists now need to conduct a human trial, which could happen later this year. Of course, the results will need to be duplicated to get the greenlight. But who knows? Hopefully men around the world will be able to get this procedure done at their doctor’s office within the next five years.