We’re one step closer on the never-ending quest to find safe, effective male birth control thanks to the promising results of a study on a male contraceptive gel. Known on the market as Vasalgel, the gel presents a reversible and less invasive option for men who want to take responsibility for preventing unplanned pregnancies without having a vasectomy.
Vasalgel works by acting as a physical barrier that is injected into the tubes to block sperm from swimming down into the penis. Basically, it’s like a gel version of a vasectomy: Sperm will continue to be produced in the testes, but then dissolves or is absorbed into the body instead of being ejaculated.
The contraceptive gel was 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy during the two-year trial with monkeys. The company behind Vasalgel hopes to begin clinical trials with human men in the next few years.
“Given that condoms only work with perfect use and vasectomies are permanent, Vasalgel is an exciting potential therapy for men who want a reversible form of contraception,” Dr. Brian Levine, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist and the practice director of CCRM New York told SheKnows.
In order for Vasalgel to hit the market, it first has to secure funding for the human clinical trial, during which it needs to be proven safe and effective. Given the widespread uproar over side effects in a recent trial for a male contraceptive hormone injection, this will be easier said than done.
Makers of Vasalgel are hoping that it will appeal to men because it is reversible and isn’t something they would have to worry about on a day-to-day basis.
“This would be more akin to an IUD [the coil] in women,” Catherine VandeVoort of the California National Primate Research Centre and the study’s lead author told The Guardian.