Women are usually the ones who are handling birth control in a relationship. There are so many options on the market including the pill, diaphragms, IUD's, the sponge, spermicide, tubal ligation, patches, shots, implants, and more. Men, on the other hand, have just a few including the vasectomy, the condom, withdrawal, and abstention. Well, in the next three to five years, a revolutionary alternative might be available to men — a product called, Vasalgel.
Created by the Parsemus Foundation, Vasalgel is a reversible vasectomy of sorts. The product is injected into the vas deferens, the sperm-carrying tubes between the testicles and the penis, which then acts like a filter of the seminal fluid. It allows the liquid to pass through, but not the sperm. The sperm is said to be reabsorbed by the body.
Unlike the vasectomy, Vasalgel doesn't require an invasive surgical procedure. It is also believed to be easily reversible with a second injection which dissolves the product. Researchers are hopeful that there is a higher rate of fertility once Vasalgel is removed.
So far, the most promising clinical trials have been tried on 16 male monkeys. Executive Director Elaine Lissner told CNN, "What was important here was that this worked and was safe in animals similar to humans." None of the females in the group conceived during one breeding season, but there were some minor issues reported. One of the males had the gel inserted incorrectly while another developed a lump of sperm called a sperm granuloma. For the most part, few instances of inflammation were reported and the monkeys tolerated the gel well.
Members of the medical community believe that the key to Vasalgel becoming more widely-accepted is its proven rate of reversibility. Without positive results from this research, use of the product in place of the traditional vasectomy won't happen. "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, and it's reassuring that apparently such studies are ongoing," said Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield told CNN.
According to men's health advocate Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, there are some factors that men must consider should Vasalgel become available on the market:
- It doesn't prevent STDs.
- Risk of failure.
- Possibility of post-vasectomy pain.
- The long-term risks of having a foreign substance in the body for an extended period of time.
It may take some time, but researchers are optimistic about the impact that Vasalgel can have on the birth control conversation. One thing is for sure, if it works on humans as well as it does on monkeys, then this will take a lot of pressure off couples everywhere!