Health & Wellbeing

Reversible male contraception method lasts 10 years

Reversible male contraception ...
Inexpensive to manufacture and simple to administer, RISUG could offer a cost effective birth control solution (Image: Male Contraception Information Project)
Inexpensive to manufacture and simple to administer, RISUG could offer a cost effective birth control solution (Image: Male Contraception Information Project)
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(Image: Male Contraception Information Project)
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(Image: Male Contraception Information Project)
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Inexpensive to manufacture and simple to administer, RISUG could offer a cost effective birth control solution (Image: Male Contraception Information Project)
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Inexpensive to manufacture and simple to administer, RISUG could offer a cost effective birth control solution (Image: Male Contraception Information Project)

A promising new birth control method for men that's more easily reversible than vasectomy has been developed in India. Called RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance or Vasalgel in the U.S) the method is claimed to be 100 percent effective in trials, doesn't contain controversial hormone therapy and it lasts a minimum of 10 years.

The procedure involves injecting a non-toxic polymer (gel) above the scrotum, rather than making an incision as is done in vasectomies. The polymer then acts as a security system, coating the inside walls of the vas deferens (the passage way for sperm above the scrotum) which chemically incapacitates the sperms as they go past, making them unable to fertilize an egg.

"Within an hour, the drugs produce an electrical charge that nullifies the electrical charge of the spermatozoa, preventing it from penetrating the ovum," says Dr. Guha, who developed the contraceptive at IIT Kharagpur in India.

The results are similar to a traditional vasectomy but with added advantages of it being simple, pain free (after the injection part!) and easily reversible. If a patient wishes to restore fertility, after months or years, the polymer can be simply flushed out of the system with another injection.

After testing RISUG on over 250 volunteers, Dr. Guha reported little or no side effects other than slight scrotal swelling in some men immediately after the injection, which dissipates after a few weeks.

Inexpensive to manufacture and simple to administer, RISUG could offer a cost effective solution to unwanted pregnancies in developing countries. In developed nations; it would give women a safe long-term option, free from the many risks associated with long-term birth-control-pill use, whilst also potentially reducing the number of abortions. It would give men a more comfortable and hassle free solution from condoms and an attractive option over having a vasectomy.

"It holds tremendous promise," Ronald Weiss, a leading Canadian vasectomy surgeon and a member of a World Health Organization, told Wired magazine. "If we can prove that RISUG is safe and effective and reversible, there is no reason why anybody would have a vasectomy."

(Image: Male Contraception Information Project)
(Image: Male Contraception Information Project)

Currently RISUG is undergoing advanced clinical trials in India where some of the patients have successfully used it for over 15 years. In the U.S a small foundation called Parsemus has purchased the rights to begin RISUG (Vasagel) trials with the hopes of developing it for the world market. Parsemus hopes to have it on the U.S market as an alternative to vasectomy as early as 2015, with clinical trials starting next year. There are however concerns that pharmaceutical companies won't be interested in RISUG as it is a cheap one-shot contraceptive that doesn't require monthly prescriptions and thus won't become their next big money earner.

It is important to note that RISUG does not provide protection against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, although a study is currently under way to test its effectiveness as an anti-HIV agent, due to a belief that the styrene maleic acid may reduce pH to a level capable of destroying HIV in semen.

Source: Male Contraception Information Project

16 comments
Denis Klanac
sign me up!
Renārs Grebežs
WOW, this is the sh*t! Always knew indians were gona be at the top spots when it comes to science. Really hope it hits the EU market, though.
Frank191
Very very nice. If it passes the US regulations (and Canadians should follow...) I am on the list!
Slowburn
Now that we have reliable reversible contraception for both sexes, it shold be required for welfare recipients.
nehopsa
ai, ai, ...your excitement is premature, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen: BIG farma have their filthy hands in the business, as usual, and would not allow this to happen. Continue making babies.
Chris D
@slowburn. Seems you missed the point of the whole deal. In India they vasectomised the destitute darker hued lower castes by bribing them with fm radios, In Peru they sterilized Indigenous Amerindian women without their permission. In China they still forcibly abort those who are found exceeding their childbirth quota. In Phillipines they lied to women claiming they were giving them tetanus vacines but were giving them anti-nidation drugs to stop fetal implantation. The right to reproduce is a human right (not a privilege as some eugenicists allege. Human rights are non negotiable. There is a slippery slope when we seek to block the rights of any group regardless of circumstance. Unfortunately their are those who with social engineering agendas who seek to remove freedoms that are inherent to life. Claiming its reversible is not new. Norplant contraceptive implants made that claim but low and behold every woman who had to have them removed because of the unmentioned side effect were treated to the discovery that the implants were painful to remove due to the bodies\' encasing the implants in a calcification. Trusting these deceiving swindling contraceptors is a risk Men would do best to avoid.
Charles Bosse
@Dopwell 15 years is a pretty good trial for a 10 year device, and by the time these are available we will be looking at 20 years of data. I agree that we shouldn\'t use this (or any contraception) for social agendas, but it would be nice as a man to take the burden off my wife. Also, for men who DO enjoy a more varied sex life, this would be cheap insurance against getting stuck with a kid because a woman claims the condom broke (I can be thankful I practiced abstanance in a few early relationships or else it would have been a lot harder to walk away from them), without giving up your reproductive rights forever. Face it: some women are amazing, but of the not-so-good people of the world are women too, and if I were 10 years younger I would happily go for one of these, even if I wasn\'t planning on having sex for some time yet. Hopefully, when my wife and I have had a planned child, this will be an option and I can do my part for reducing further human impact on the planet.
Slowburn
Being given money to do nothing is not a right either, and it is the recipient\'s choice on whether or not he/she accepts the conditions and get the money. Also there are more white welfare recipients than black.
Chris D
I would posit that the said reversibility has not been proven after the claimed ten year period. Most likely just like Norplant theis polymer wil become so heavily attached to the host\'s tissues that removal would destroy the vas deferens which in layman\'s terms would mean the same as a vasectomy. The obsession with interfering with a healthy reproductive system can only end in infertility.
Michael Mantion
I remember reading about this about 10 years ago.. I considered it but couldn\'t find any real information, and wasn\'t about to fly to Asia unless I knew I could get the procedure done. I know if have a son as soon as he is old enough he\'s getting it, that way you don\'t have to worry about some chick suing you for 18 years of back child support when your 40 and already have your own family.