Scientists are about to achieve another major break through in human contraception; a condom-free male birth control known as Vasalgel which could provide option for men besides condom and vasectomy.
Until now, there are no reversible fertility preventive measures for men except condom, but that could change by 2018, says Parsemus Foundation Human trials is expected to begin later this year. Developers claimed they’re so close to keeping the ball off the females court for a change and give men the option to control their fertility as well.
Developed by US- based non-profit company, the Parsemus Foundation, Vasalgel functions in the male reproductive system by blocking the tube (vas deferens) through which sperm travels down, with a flexible, spongy, hydrogel material.
This material will allow all the important fluids to permeate, except the sperms which is much larger and is re-absorbed by the body. The developers confirmed that injecting the vas deferens is quick and easy, and the latest animal trails suggested that the contraceptive is long-lasting than they had expected.
In the latest trial, 12 male rabbits were given a single injection of Vasalgel in varying doses. Eleven of the rabbits were found to be ‘azoospermic’ straight away, which means there were no traces of sperm in their ejaculate, and the other only had small amounts of sperm detected before also becoming azoospermic.
All 12 rabbits were unable to impregnate females throughout the year-long trial, and there were no signs of their bodies having any kind of abnormal response.
Seven of the rabbits then had the Vasalgel flushed from their vas deferens, and sperm quickly returned to normal.
It’s important to note that these results are pending publication, and while it won’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases, it gives couples new options for birth control.
In an interview with the trial leader, Donald Waller who is a pharmacologist at the University of Illinois, Chicago said:
“Results from our study in rabbits were even better than expected. Vasalgel produces a very rapid contraceptive effect which lasted throughout the study due to its unique hydrogel properties. These features are important considerations for a contraceptive product to be used in humans.”
The Vasalgel, they say, proffer better advantages than the options available to men such as condoms or vasectomy – which were not the most popular choices and given the fact that there are still 85 million unintended pregnancies each year, there’s clearly room for improvement when it comes to protection.
In recent years, scientists has ventured into promising scientific developments and finding to could aid contraception in men, including protein-blocking tablets, but Vasalgel has not only proven itself to be one of the most simple and effective options. It also comes with fewer potential side effects, seeing as it physically blocks sperm, rather than messing with hormones or the biochemistry of the body. It doesn’t require men to follow any guidelines which is one of the factors that reduces the effectiveness of the female contraceptive pill.
The foundation also focuses on low-cost approaches so as to make it available worldwide. Parsemus executive director, Elaine Lissner said:
“Contraceptive development is a hugely expensive project. But this is not just another early-stage lead; we’re so close on this one. It’s time to finish the job we’ve started.”