A recent study has shown that unintended pregnancies make up almost half of all pregnancies in the United States. From data collected in 2011 scientists were able to conclude that the 2.8 million pregnancies per year are at their lowest point in the past 30 years. A big part of this comes down to the contraceptives that people use being better. The contraceptives are far more accessible.
Recent studies have been focusing on developing male contraceptives. The reasoning behind this is if both parties involved are on some form of contraceptive, the chances for unwanted pregnancies drop.
In a study conducted on monkeys, scientists were able to find a drug that may potentially work for human males. The scientists injected male rhesus monkeys with Vasalgel. They injected the substance directly into the male monkey’s reproductive organs. The gel then blocks sperm from moving through the vas deferens during the male’s ejaculation.
Vasectomy works in a similar way but Vasalgel is easier to remove, making the reversal procedure much more pleasant. And unlike a vasectomy, the Vasalgel treatment is completely reversible.
After being injected with the Vasalgel male rhesus monkeys were able to live among fertile female monkeys for one to two years without any pregnancies occurring.
The method is not perfect and there were some complications. Some of the test subjects experienced leakage due to incorrect gel placement. One of the monkeys developed a lump on its reproductive organ due to sperm buildup. But none of those are major issues and with further development could be completely removed, especially if you consider the alternatives. Most forms of birth control come with serious risks. Women that use intrauterine devices sometimes develop infections that can lead to infertility. Hormonal drugs can lead to women developing blood clots and even strokes.
Still, until proper human testing is in place there is no way to know what side effects on the human reproductive organs this gel may have. But a long-lasting form of birth control that is this effective could really be groundbreaking. Condoms and IUDs have high success rates when it comes to birth control, but those two in conjunction with a male contraceptive could almost completely eliminate unwanted pregnancies.