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Reproductive control agents

Gel-based 'vasectomy' could be an effective male contraceptive

Researchers injected 16 adult male monkeys with Vasalgel; their mates did not conceive for the duration of the two-year study.

Sample of male contraceptive gel, Vasalgel, in test tube

Source: Male Contraception Information Project

A high molecular weight polymer consisting of 25% styrene maleic acid in dimethyl sulfoxide (pictured) was injected into the vas deferens of 16 adult male rhesus monkeys

Vasectomy is a highly effective form of male contraception, but is difficult to reverse. Therefore, recent research has explored the concept of reversible forms of contraception that target the vas deferens, the tube that transports mature sperm to the urethra. 

Researchers tested the effect of one of these contraceptives, Vasalgel — a high molecular weight polymer consisting of 25% styrene maleic acid in dimethyl sulfoxide injected into the vas deferens — on 16 adult male rhesus monkeys. The monkeys were then returned to enclosures with reproductive females for at least one breeding season. 

Over a mean period of 1.2 years, no females housed with the Vasalgel-treated monkeys became pregnant, even those co-housing for two full breeding seasons. The rate of complications was similar to an age-matched group of vasectomy-treated monkeys. 

Reporting their findings in Basic and Clinical Andrology[1] (online, 7 February 2017), the researchers say further study is needed to explore the possibility of reversal by flushing the gel from the vas deferens.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2017.20202391

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Supplementary images

  • Sample of male contraceptive gel, Vasalgel, in test tube

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