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Male birth control procedure revolutionary, has negative, positive impacts for both genders

“It makes more sense to unload a gun than to shoot a bulletproof vest.”

This expression, albeit clichéd, has been the pivotal point of a revolutionized approach to birth control in recent times.

A new product, called Vasalgel, is a reversible, non-hormonal polymer that blocks sperm flow within the male genitalia.

The Paresemus Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that works to develop low-cost medical procedures, has found Vasalgel to be effective in both rabbits and, so far, baboons.

In the study, three male baboons were treated with Vasalgel and were given unrestricted sexual access to 10-15 female baboons. There have been no pregnancies during the 6 month trial.

The Paresemus Foundation’s research has gained the attention of another foundation, which has supplied the funding to conduct human tests by 2015, with the hopes of marketing Vasalgel to the public by 2017.

According to The Paresemus Foundation’s website, the cost of the product would be “less than the cost of a flat-screen television,” and a visit to the doctor would likely cost more than the procedure itself. Additionally, the foundation plans to work closely with insurance companies to expand and include coverage for patients.

So how does Vasalgel work?

Unlike female birth control, it is a non-hormonal procedure and only requires one treatment.

Essentially, the polymer is injected directly into the vas deferens [the tube that sperm flows through], blocking the sperm from entering seminal fluid.

According to the results of successful rabbit testing, the procedure appears to be reversible— as sperm flow was successfully restored— and the completion of the baboon testing will provide an even clearer indication.

It is an attractive option for men because unlike vasectomies, Vasalgel requires no cuts or incisions.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a very successful market for male birth control, as investors in the pharmaceutical industry make far more money selling products and treatment to women.

After all, why sell a man a product such as Vasalgel once when you could sell other forms of contraceptives to women, monthly, for 10 years?

Investments in the multibillion-dollar female birth control industry could potentially harm the production and disbursement of male-oriented contraceptives, but it’s women who ultimately pay the price.

According to WomensHealth.gov, the side effects of various kinds of birth control are potentially very serious.

They include an increased risk of heart disease, higher blood pressure, blood clots, toxic shock syndrome, nausea, depression, bone loss and in some cases, rips or tears in the uterus.

It’s no wonder that some women opt out of hormonal contraceptives and that nearly 50 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned.

Plus, given that men produce an astounding 1,500 sperm per second, it does in fact make sense to “unload the gun.”

I believe Vasalgel to be the first of many doors to open for the male-focused birth control industry and this is nothing short of revolutionary.

The future of effective, more healthful birth control is bright and I believe we will see more men taking contraceptive responsibility into their own hands in the future.

However, there is one major drawback with use— the spread of sexually transmitted diseases due to a lack of condoms.

Granted, I think it is a highly marketable product to a particular demographic profile. In the event that two people are healthy and in a committed relationship, a product such as Vasalgel could pave the way for worry-free family planning, as well as satisfying sexual experiences.

But outside of this context, Vasalgel has the potential to cause rampant transmission of sexual diseases.

Maybe condoms don’t sound so bad after all.

Respond to Deanna at

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