The search for a male contraceptive hasn’t been an easy one.
For years, scientists have attempted to formulate injections, patches and pills for men without much success. The only tried and true solution is the vasectomy. While this method is very effective (99.85%), undergoing a vasectomy is a permanent decision and is not something to be taken lightly.
The traditional vasectomy procedure (also known as the good old “snip snip”) involves eliminating the sperm supply by cutting the vas deferens (the tube where sperm is produced), separating them from each testicle. This method prevents sperm from mixing with semen, and therefore, is a very reliable form of birth control.
For men considering a vasectomy, they must be absolutely, 100% sure that they don’t want to have a child in the future. Although urologists offer vasectomy reversal surgery, the procedure tends to be tricky, and it isn’t guaranteed to work.
If a man happens to change his mind about having a child, an infertility specialist may be able to use various methods to retrieve his sperm and conceive with in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but he will never be able to conceive a child naturally.
That is, until now.
Meet Sujoy Guha, an Indian scientist who just might have discovered the holy grail of male birth control.
For 30 years, Guha has been developing an injectable vasectomy; it’s been proven to be 100% effective, and even better, it’s reversible.
This revolutionary procedure is called RISUG (which is an acronym for Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance), and recently Guha and his miracle invention have gotten the attention of some big names, including the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Today, RISUG, with full support of the Indian government, is in late Phase III clinical trials in India, but unfortunately, the trial is only approved for Indian men at this time.
Many foreign men have heard about the RISUG procedure, and persistently contact Ghua, volunteering their bodies for a chance to try this amazing new contraceptive.
What is so great about RISUG anyway?
Unlike a traditional vasectomy, RISUG is inexpensive to produce and a fairly simple procedure to administer. RISUG’s potential for success seems limitless; it could take some pressure off women, who often suffer uncomfortable side effects from birth control pills, it could aid poor families in limiting the amount of children they have, and it’s a reliable alternative to condoms, which many guys find especially annoying.
Wired Magazine said it perfectly: “About half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Come up with a better contraceptive and the likely results are all good: fewer unwanted kids, fewer single parents, and fewer abortions.”
RISUG sounds like a genuine win-win situation, but how does it work?
The procedure begins like a traditional vasectomy, but instead of snipping the vas deferens, they are injected with a special gel, which is made of styrene maleic anhydride and dimethyl sufoxide (and more commonly referred to as SMA/DMSO).
This special gel coats the inside of the two vas deferens tubes and actually kills sperm as they pass through. Wired Magazine described it as, “a tollbooth on the sperm superhighway.” Sperm production and hormone levels are left untouched, which means less side effects for the patient.
The best part for most men is the RISUG procedure is completely reversible. All that’s required is another injection into the vas deferens tubes, which works to push the gel straight out of the patient’s system.
Last year, American-based company Parsemus bought the international rights to RISUG, and plans to undergo FDA clinical trials for approval will start the next few years, where RISUG will be known as “Vasalgel”.
Ghua also received a $100,000 research grant from the Gates Foundation (yes, Bill Gates) to develop a similar technique to be used in women.
Devendra Deshpande is one of hundreds of Indian men who have received the RISUG procedure. He told Wired Magazine, “I’m normally not adventurous when it comes to getting myself operated on,” but he and his wife Vinu couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.
Deshpande described the recovery from RISUG as mild, and lasted about a week following the procedure. Since then, he hasn’t experienced a single side effect.
“It was business as usual,” said Deshpande, when Vinu chimed in, “Probably better!”
Whether you prefer to call it RISUG or “Vasalgel”, this is a major advancement that benefits both sexes; and most likely, the world will be thanking the great Indian scientist Sujoy Guha for years to come.
To learn more about vasectomy and other contraception options for men, contact a urologist in your area.
Image courtesy of: Thinkstock
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