When men want birth control, they’re pretty much limited to condoms and the big “snip,” otherwise known as a vasectomy. But a new temporary birth control option for men may be on the horizon.
That option is Vasalgel. While it requires an injection with a needle, a needle full of Vasalgel is a little less extreme than vasectomy scissors — and it may be just as effective.
“It’s comparable to or better than the best birth control methods — methods like IUDs,” said Elaine Lissner, director of the Parsemus Foundation, which is currently researching Vasalgel, in an interview with dailyRx News. “It’s comparable to vasectomy.”
An intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) is a small apparatus inserted into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. Some common IUDs are Paragard and Mirena. IUDs are reversible — take it out, and you will soon be able to become pregnant.
Reversing a vasectomy isn’t so simple. In a vasectomy, a surgeon snips and seals the vas deferens, which brings sperm from the testicles to the urethra. How do you un-snip something down there? It’s possible, but it’s neither easy nor pleasant.
That’s where Vasalgel could come in, Lissner said. An injection of Vasalgel into the vas deferens seals it, and another injection can flush out the Vasalgel. Vasalgel’s edge over vasectomy could lie in its reversibility, Lissner said.
“We’ve reversed it in animal studies,” she said. “Now it needs to be proven in men. What makes it exciting is that it could become a long-lasting contraceptive, rather than a permanent one.”
Lissner noted that these early tests of Vasalgel have suggested that it might allow fluids other than sperm to come through the vas deferens, which could ease potentially painful side effects like pressure from fluid buildup.
Lissner and colleagues have already successfully implemented and reversed Vasalgel’s effects in rabbits and are now testing on baboons. Lissner said the first clinical trial of the gel is scheduled for next year.
“When you read about possible male contraceptives, you hear five to 10 years, and you might as will figure that means possibly never,” Lissner said. “We’re saying three years, which means it could actually happen. It’s actually in sight.”
The Parsemus Foundation has been developing Vasalgel since 2010. The foundation calls itself a “social venture” free from massive profits and focused on affordable pricing and wide availability of its products.