Male birth control coming your way
Frosh Week is right around the corner, and we all know what that brings to mind: sex.
That makes birth control a major issue, especially so if you are a full time student and have no plans to have kids anytime soon.
Well, birth control as you know it is about to change. Vasalgel, the first FDA-approved male contraceptive, is expected to be legally introduced into the U.S. market any time between 2018 to 2020. Now men as well as women will be able to protect themselves through the use of a contraceptive.
"You Shall Not Pass"
Illustration/ Jeremy McPherson
All it takes is one injection into your crotch—medically speaking, into your scrotum—and the makers of this contraceptive state that the effect will last for years to come. Vasalgel is described to be a non-hormonal polymer that, when injected into a man’s scrotum, acts like a buffer and stops sperm from travelling out of his penis. Another injection would be required to get rid of the polymer, should a man choose to do so. The Telegraph’s Wonder Women poll, which surveyed more than 84,000 heterosexual men, concluded that more than half of those polled ‘can’t wait’ to try this solution out.
The scientist responsible for creating Vasalgel is Dr. Sujoy Guha, who is from India and has devoted the last thirty years of his life to creating this pill. He has tested a polymer similar to the one used in Vasalgel called the Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance (RISUG) in India, and this polymer is undergoing its third stage of human experimentation. RISUG is thought to be able to last for a decade. Currently, the product that is about to be introduced into the U.S. market is being subjected to human experimentation as well. A one-year study involving rabbits has already proven Vasalgel to be successful in deterring sperm production.
It is important to note that the idea of a male contraceptive is not novel or only attributable to Guha. Other scientists have also worked on this idea for some time. Prominently, Dr. Lee Smith, from the University of Edinburgh, previously was able to also create a male contraceptive by obstructing the gene Katnal-1, which is responsible for semen production. Another team of scientists from Indonesia, representing Eppin Pharma Inc.,have successfully deterred the ‘eppin’ protein in sperm—which is responsible for aiding the sperm in travelling to the ovaries of a woman—from being active. So why aren’t we hearing about the commercialization of these solutions as well?
Last year, Australian scientist Dr. Carl Djerassi, who is responsible for pioneering female contraception, stated in a television interview that the opposition to male contraception “has nothing to do with science; we know exactly how to develop [the male pill] ... [but] there’s not a single pharmaceutical company who will touch it—for economic and socio-political, rather than scientific, reasons.”
All of that is changing now, so expect the Frosh Weeks of the near future to be nothing but exciting.