Vasalgel an experimental new type of male contraceptive that uses gel to block sperm flow has proven 100% success rates in monkey trials. This is news we all have been waiting for since we want to reduce the burden of contraception from our women. Contraceptive pills for male had been developed but later withdrawn due to their many side effects. Men contraceptive options are use of barrier method i.e condoms, withdrawing and vasectomy a permanent form of male contraception. Vasalgel brings hope to men who want to reduce the burden of contraception from their women as a reversible option for them. Currently, about 20% of men are already using the available options of male contraception.
Vasalgel is injected into vas deferens the tubes that sperm flows down into the penis and acts as physical barrier to the sperms. Its main advantage is that you don’t cut the tubes like in vasectomy and hence reversible when the gel is flushed out. The gel is flushed out with another injection when the man wants to restore fertility.
This is good news to men who think they are finished having children but would like to keep that option open in case they change their minds, remarry or for men who just want to practice child spacing.
Research on the monkeys was conducted by the University of California researchers who tested the gel in 16 monkeys 10 of which were already fathers. The monkeys didn’t impregnate the fertile females despite mating taking place during the period of the study. Few of the monkeys had side effects. Previously it had been tested in rabbits and it was shown that it can be easily reversed by dissolving the gel using ultrasound.
Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: “The study shows that, in adult male monkeys at least, the gel is an effective form of contraception.
“But in order for it to have a chance of replacing the traditional surgical method of vasectomy, the authors need to show that the procedure is reversible.”
“I would imagine there is a worldwide market for a new male contraceptive, but trials in humans and more long-term safety data are required before we will know if it is a success.”
“What was important here was that this worked and was safe in animals similar to humans,” said Elaine Lissner, executive director of the Parsemus Foundation, the medical research organization behind Vasalgel that is also leading the trials.
They are hoping to conduct human trials next year. If successful, this will be a good addition to male contraceptive options.
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