A new birth control method that may be available for men in 2017 has been hailed as a revolutionary breakthrough, but could it come at too high a price?
According to the Parsemus Foundation who are currently running trials on the contraceptive, Vasalgel, it actually acts in a similar way to a vasectomy by blocking the ducts that move the sperm to ejaculation and is 'likely' to be reversible.
That last part may need some work, as the point of using contraception is that it is an assured, temporary measure.
According to the official website for Vasalgel, the contraceptive (which has just been tested on baboons with promising results) is a "long-acting, nonhormonal contraceptive similar to vasectomy but with one significant advantage: it is likely to be more reversible."
"The procedure is similar to a no-scalpel vasectomy, except a gel is injected into the vas deferens (the tube the sperm swim through) rather than cutting the vas (as is done in vasectomy). If a man wishes to restore flow of sperm, whether after months or years, the polymer is flushed out of the vas with another injection."
According to The Medical Daily, recent trials involving baboons found that the mammals injected with Vasalgel didn’t impregnate the 10 to 15 female baboons with which they shared the same space.
As a result, scientists have seen a possibility of the injection working in humans, too.
The company behind the idea, more formally known as the Parsemus Foundation, has had to rely on crowd funding for the research to kick start. This is mainly due to the fact that "long-term [contraceptive] methods aren’t a big money-maker." For large pharmaceutical companies, it’s a lot more "profitable to sell pills to men’s partners every month".
This means that Vasalgel is being developed as a social venture. Their mantra? Affordable pricing and wide availability.
A spokesperson from the Parsemus Foundation told the Daily Mail: "We want to get Vasalgel on the market as soon as possible, but all the proper efficacy and safety testing needs to be completed.
"Vasalgel is currently in animal testing, with human trials expected to start in early 2015 and 2015-2016 (larger trials).
"If everything goes well and with enough public support, we hope to get Vasalgel on the market in 2016-2017."
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Interest for the new contraceptive has so far been extremely high, with more than 18,000 men and women who have signed up to hear about clinical trials. And we're not surprised, particularly as it could revolutionise sex lives for many.
In addition to revolutionising sex lives, it would be a huge benefit for women who currently carry the main bulk of contraceptive worries on their shoulders. Oh, and did we mention a decrease in the potential health risks that are posed by current contraceptives such as the pill?
The overall result? Fewer unwanted pregnancies, (hopefully) better sex lives and less health risks for women. All in all, we think that 2017 might just be a good year all-round.
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