There is a group of scientists who are developing a contraceptive gel for men, which may replace vasectomies, a publication in The Guardian. The product called Vasalgel has already been tested on animals, more precisely on monkeys, and works by a simple process of injecting this same gel into the sperm transport tube, known as the vas deferens, thus acting as a long-lasting barrier. This method can be much less invasive than vasectomy and the latest tests show that it was 100% preventative at conception.
Contrary to traditional vasectomies, this process can be reversed through a second injection of the gel, which will quickly dissolve the previously created barrier and restore fertility. That is, there is the possibility of returning to the reproduction process.
“Contraceptive options for men have not changed much for decades. There is vasectomy, which has little chance of reversibility, and condoms. If they (men) knew that they could have a reliable contraceptive method that could be reversible, I think it would be very appealing”, explained Catherine VandeVoort of the National Primate Research Center in California and one of the authors of this study”. “This (Vasalgel) can be compared to the IUD (Intrauterine Device) of women” she added.
The Parsemus Foundation, a non-profit organization that funded this work, also based in California, admitted that the top priority will be to test people on humans to test the effectiveness of the results obtained in primates. “One of the best things about the monkey model is that the reproductive system is very similar to humans, which makes it very likely to be effective in us as well”, explained VandeVoort.
Unlike vasectomy, Vasalgel does not interfere with the levels of sperm and hormone production in the body, meaning that there are no side effects. Sperm continues to be produced in the testicles, but instead of being ejaculated, it dissolves and is absorbed naturally by the body.
Although the scientific innovation has received the approval of many people, several non-profit organizations have warned that this gel cannot be seen as a prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, according to The Telegraph. “I imagine this could become very popular among couples with a similar view of fertility, or in men who, for a while, do not want to risk an unplanned pregnancy, but may want to have children in the future. However, they have to be careful to become fertile again and of course, as all STD treatment clinics inform – condoms are the only way to prevent STDs”, explained Genevieve Edwards, director of policy at Marie Stopes United Kingdom.
The results of this study are published in the journal Basic and Clinical Andrology.