Male Contraceptive Gel Test Passed Monkey Trials
February 08, 2017 10:02 AM EST
A new type of male contraceptive gel that can block sperm flow has been successful in monkey trials. Vasalgel once injected into the tubes where sperm swim down to the penis acts as a physical barrier. The two-year trial has proven to be safe in primates and the study was published in the journal Basic and Clinical Andrology.
At the moment men have two main options for contraceptives, a condom and a vasectomy. Vasectomy is a sterilizing operation that requires cutting or sealing off the vas deferens. But there can be certain complications that can include infection, bruising and lumps of leaked sperm forming in the surrounding tissue according to Independent.
Vasalgel has the same end effect as vasectomy. Researchers hope it would be easier to reverse if a man later decides he wants to have children. Reversing the Vasalgel in rabbit experiments worked. But the research has yet to prove the same in monkey and man.
Researchers from the University of California tested the gel on 16 adult male monkeys. The monkeys were monitored for a week after getting the injection. They were then released to rejoin fertile female monkeys.
Mating occurred during the course of the study, but none of the female monkeys got pregnant during the two full breeding periods. Few of the male monkeys had side-effects and one needed an operation due to sperm granuloma. It is the hard build-up of sperm in the vas deferens that affects 60 percent of men undergoing vasectomy and was found to be non-serious.
According to BBC another study in India is similar to Vasalgel. It is called RISUG or reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance. It is currently being tested in men in India.
Vasalgel, however, is not designed to impair the swimming sperm. It merely blocks their path while letting other fluid through. It is meant to offer long-acting contraception. The clinical trials are expected to begin next year and will be limited to men who accept they may become sterile as researchers cannot guarantee if the procedure is reversible yet.