A new contraceptive treatment for men prevents sperm from reaching the female egg cells by blocking its way through the ejaculatory ducts, or vas deferens. The method has already been tested in monkeys and has proved efficient for two years.
The product – Vasalgel is less invasive than a vasectomy and has shown 100% efficacy in preventing pregnancies in monkey trials.
The treatment includes injecting the gel into the vas deferens so that it becomes a long-term obstacle for sperm. The gel is gradually absorbed by the body through natural mechanisms.
The gel can also be removed from the ducts earlier with the help of sodium bicarbonate solution.
Catherine VandeVoort, from the California National Primate Research Centre and the study’s lead author, said: “Men’s options for contraception have not changed much in decades. There’s vasectomy, which is poorly reversible, and condoms. If they knew they could get a reliable contraceptive that could also be reversed I think it would be appealing to them.”
The Parsemus Foundation, a non-profit organization that funded the work, stated that as soon as funding is secured a human trial will also be conducted.
“One of the great things about the monkey model is that the male reproductive tract is very similar to humans and they have even more sperm than humans do,” said the study lead author. “Chances are, it’s going to be effective in humans.”