According to a recent statement from the Parsemus Foundation, a not-for-profit that focusses on developing low-cost medical solutions, a reversible, condomless male birth control option could be available as early as 2017.
The new birth control is known as Vasalgel, and is a non-hormonal polymer that blocks the vas deferens - the tube that’s cut during vasectomies, which transports sperms from the testes out of the penis. And trials in baboons suggest that it’ll be ready to be trialled in humans next year.
Six months ago Vasalgel was injected into three male baboons, who were then given unrestricted sexual access to 10 to 15 fertile female baboons each. Despite frequent mating, none of the female baboons have fallen pregnant, as journalist Samantha Allen reports for The Daily Beast.
The Parsemus Foundation is now going to flush the Vasalgel out of the baboons and test their fertility, to make sure that the procedure is definitely reversible. And another eight baboons are now beginning a new three- or six-month trial after being injected with Vasalgel.
"By the time the year ends, we will have a lot more information on the efficacy of Vasalgel - and, if all goes well, will be planning for clinical trials with humans to start next year," the press release explains.
And, according to their FAQ page, the company hopes to see the treatment on the market by 2017 for less than the cost of a flat-screen TV.
Unlike most forms of female birth control, Vasalgel isn’t hormonal, and would only need to be injected once to block pregnancy for a long period of time. Basically, the polymer contraceptive is injected straight into the vas deferens, which it physically blocks up and stops any sperm getting through. A second injection flushes the polymer out when a man wants to reverse the procedure, Allen explains.
Of course, this contraceptive wouldn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections such as herpes and HIV, so condom use would still be recommended for many sexual interactions. But if all goes to plan, this will be an effective and much-needed additional option that couples can choose from when protecting against unwanted pregnancies. And more choice = more protection.
Find out more about how Vasalgel could revolutionise sexual relationships over at The Daily Beast.