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After being mostly ignored by the mainstream media for years, Vasalgel has started to really gain cultural momentum here in the United States after being featured in several mainstream media outlets this fall.
In short, it is a low-cost, long-term male birth control product being developed by The Parsemus Foundation. It is similar to an Indian male birth control product called RISUG. Both products are a polymer gel that is injected via syringe into the vas deferens. This gel will function as a highly effective birth control for men, as it blocks the passage of sperm without creating backup or pressure. The gel allows some fluid to pass, but earlier year-long rabbit trials indicated no sperm in any of the subjects’ seminal fluid. Males still experience orgasm and ejaculation, but without the risk of impregnating their partner.
Although clinical human studies have not been tested to establish how long the gel remains effective, studies on RISUG in India indicate it can be effective for up to a decade. It is reversible with a simple injection, though this also has yet to be verified in human studies. There is some time after the procedure where sperm may still be released during orgasm. During that transitional period, barrier or other birth control methods must be used.
Though Ladybud Magazine is not fond of animal testing, in rabbit studies, the males tested as azoospermic (meaning there was a zero sperm count) within three months and no viable sperm as soon as two weeks after the procedure. Six months into the baboon study, none of the males have managed to impregnate any of the females.
The most amazing thing about Vasalgel is that, while costs have yet to be fully determined, it is estimated to be significantly less expensive than the cost of long-term female birth control (IUD) implantation.
Because it is a one-shot treatment and relatively low-cost, finding support in the domestic medial establishment has been more difficult than one would imagine.
If all goes well, The Parsemus Foundation will begin human trials next year and is aiming for public release of the gel within a decade. If the product actually reaches retail markets in the United States, it could revolutionize the world of birth control. Only time will tell is Vasalgel will live up to the hype, but early data is very promising!
Photo Credit: Unknown artist under public domain via Wikimedia Commons