A new type of male contraceptive gel has passed the tests on monkeys. Published in Basic and Clinical, after a two-year-trial the company behind it says the gel is safe at least in primates.
Men have two options of contraceptive at the moment and the new study may become a third option in the next few years. Vasagel has the same end effect as vasectomy, which means cutting or sealing the two tubes that carry sperm to the penis. Researchers hopes that it should be easier to reverse for those who want to have children later.
The idea of male birth control gel is not new as RISUG, which works in a similar way to Vasagel ise still being tested in India. However, unlike it, according to the manufacturer, this new gel blocks the path but still let the other fluid through. They are both given as an injection under anaesthetic.
The gel is tested on 16 adult monkeys by researchers in The University of California and 10 of the monkeys were already fathers. They were monitored for a week after getting the injection and then released back into the enclosure to fertile females. None of the female monkeys became pregnant after the matings. Few of the male monkeys had side effects and one needed an operation as the injection damaged one of his tubes.