With the steep arc of development in most areas of life, it actually seems incredible that it's 2016 and there's still no contraceptive for men other than condoms.
While women (the lucky devils) are able to browse the aisles of birth control at leisure, popping daily pills and enjoying bum jabs like there's no tomorrow, men have had the extremes of single-use love gloves and, er, vasectomies to choose from.
This may finally be about to change. Vasalgel, developed by non-profit Parsemus Foundation, is delivered via injection and works as a physical barrier to sperm. And the latest research points to it not only being long-term and fully reversible, but potentially available as soon as 2018.
Though it sounds slightly more like a feminine hygiene product than one would perhaps expect, the name presumably comes from the fact it is injected directly into the vas deferens (the tubes through which sperm is carried to the urethra and which are severed or tied during a vasectomy) where it forms a flexible hydrogel.
The hydrogel allows some material through, but blocks the all-important sperm, and rabbit trials showed it remained effective for at least 12 months. When the Vasalgel was flushed out, sperm levels returned to normal, indicating it's a temporary, reversible effect.
The California-based foundation is now planning the next phase of the project, human trials, for later this year.
With the results lasting longer than the team had anticipated, it's possible Vasalgel could be an even longer-term option than planned, with Parsemus Foundation's executive director, Elaine Lissner, telling Cosmopolitan: “We expect [that time frame] to be similar in men, but that is just a minimum. It seems to be pretty durable; we expect it to last for years. We just don't know how many yet.”
The injection of course provides no defence against sexually transmitted diseases and infections, but the research looks promising in terms of finally providing a viable, long-acting, reversible contraceptive for men wanting choice when it comes to birth control.
Parsemus Foundation uses investors, and, according to its website, is developing Vasalgel “as a ‘social venture,’ a company that makes enough money to stay afloat but not to make anybody rich, with affordable pricing and wide availability as its mandate.”
Women have had years of medication, hormonal-messing and various bits of metal shoved up us: bring on the crotch jabs, say we.