Men and women all over the world have been hoping for an effective, long lasting birth control for men pretty much since the dawn of contraceptives. Right now, the only methods of birth control available to men are condoms or a vasectomy, which have their own drawbacks. However, a team of scientists in the US are working on a solution. Vasalgel is an injectable polymer hyrogel that blocks sperm from coming out of the body. Vasalgel is an easily reversible form of birth control, which gives it an edge over traditional vasectomies. It’s also a long term and very effective method, which can make life easier for people who currently rely on condoms. Upon its release, Vasalgel should be approved for one year of use as a birth control, with plans to extend that range upon further testing. According to the developer’s plans, clinical trials should start by the end of 2014, and Vasalgel could come to market by 2016.
Vasalgel works by injecting the non-hormonal polymer into the vas deferens, the tube that sperm travel through to get out of the body. The procedure is similar to a vasectomy, but the tube is blocked instead of cut. If the man wants to reverse the procedure, it’s as simple as another injection of a different substance to flush out the polymer. Overall, it’s much less invasive than a vasectomy, and much more reversible if the man changes his mind about wanting children. The cost should also be lower, as the developers are committed to making sure that it is affordable.
This answer to a male birth control pill started in India, under the name RISUG® (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) and has been successfully tested by men there for over 15 years. Clinical trials in India have a 100% success rate, meaning no serious side effects and no unintended pregnancies. While RISUG® is still in the approval process in India, an American team hopes to get FDA approval for Vasalgel, which uses the same idea but different formula.
The Parsemus Foundation, which is also doing work with other male birth control methods, purchased the international rights to RISUG® in 2010. Since then, scientists at the Foundation have developed their own formulation, and have begun conducting animal studies. The team has already conducted a trial on rabbits, and baboons are being tested now. A small clinical human trial is expected by the end of the year. If everything goes according to plan, Vasalgel should be on the market as an inexpensive and hormone free male birth control by 2016.
If you are interested in Vasalgel, you can click here more information, or here to make a donation.
http://www.parsemusfoundation.org/vasalgel-home/ -Vasalgel website
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/04/ff_vasectomy/all/ -Wired article about RISUG