Scientists from California National Primate Research Centre, US have successfully tested a new male contraceptive ‘Vasalgel’ that blocks sperm flow on monkeys. Now it is waiting for human trials.
During the animal trials, the Vasalgel contraceptive provided effective birth control in rhesus monkey groups for more than one year. It brings the prospect of an alternative form of birth control for humans.
- The trial use of Vasalgel in groups of rhesus macaques has confirmed the previous preclinical trail findings in rabbits on the efficacy of the new contraceptive.
- Vasalgel is a high molecular weight polymer containing styrene-alt-maleic acid (SMA) dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide.
- The polymer forms a hydrogel after injection into the sperm-carrying tube vas deferens, creating a blockage to the passage of sperm rather than cutting it as in vasectomy, to filter sperms from the fluid ejaculation.
- The contraceptive effect of Vasalgel can also be reversed by flushing the material out with a simple sodium bicarbonate solution.
- Significance: The purpose Vasalgel is to prevent pregnancy, not just by eliminating sperm in larger animals more anatomically. In over a last century, male contraceptive options have not changed and currently are limited to vasectomy (meant to be permanent) and condoms and withdrawal (with high pregnancy rates). Vasagel could be the first long-acting, non-hormonal, potentially reversible male contraceptive to reach market.