Long-Acting Birth Control for Guys Coming in 2017
November 4, 2014
We’ve heard of birth control methods that are long-acting, meaning they are effective for three months or up to 10 years without a girl or woman having to do anything. These birth control methods, like intrauterine devices and implants, are for girls and women. But are there long-acting, reversible birth control options for men? The Parsemus Foundation is developing Vasalgel, a gel which is injected into the vas deferens (the tube that the sperm travel through from the testicles to the urethra). When the gel hardens, it blocks sperm from mixing with the fluids that are released during ejaculation. This means the fluids ejaculated don’t contain sperm.
Vasalgel has been compared to a no-scalpel vasectomy. A vasectomy is a surgical procedure where a man’s vas deferens are cut, so there is no sperm in his semen. Like a vasectomy, Vasalgel uses an injection of gel into the vas deferens to prevent sperm from mixing with semen. If a man no longer wants to use Vasalgel or would like to be able to contribute to a pregnancy, the gel is dissolved with another injection.
Vasalgel will be on the market in 2017. It has been tested on male baboons, and human trials are expected to start next year. Vasalgel will not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, so guys will still need to use condoms. (It is always good to use them anyway.) Is this the start of a new era for contraception?