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Vasalgel™ - The next male contraceptive? by suesa

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· @suesa ·
$97.63
Vasalgel™ - The next male contraceptive?
<center>![Picture]( https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2018/03/27/03/57/panties-3264983_960_720.jpg)</center>*<sub>By RJA1988 on pixabay.com</sub>*

Implants, IUDs, shots, vaginal rings, patches, pills, condoms (male and female), diaphragms, sponges, cervical caps, spermicide, fertility awareness, pull out, breastfeeding, tubal ligation, vasectomy, and abstinence<sup>1</sup>. The list of available birth control is long, but not every method is that effective (abstinence didn’t work for the Virgin Mary) and some aren’t reversible, which causes many doctors to refuse to do them, especially in the case of women (“At one point, your biological clock will start ticking, and then you will THANK me!”).

The problem is, most of these methods are for women, not men. And many of the available female contraceptives are hormonal. I myself am using a hormonal contraceptive, which puts me at a higher risk for thromboembolism, stroke, myocardial infarction, breast cancer<sup>2</sup>, … the list goes on.

Knowing how hormones work, it doesn’t surprise me. If you put something in your body that’s supposed to have a particular effect, there will be side effects. That occurs even with food! Biology and chemistry aren’t something focused on a goal, it’s all statistics in the end. That’s why one person can deal well with the flu, and someone else might die despite being initially healthy. That’s why medication doesn’t work the same for everybody.

Wouldn’t it be better to switch to non-hormonal then?

Well, I’d love to. But condoms can break, and the other methods aren’t as effective. And besides, shouldn’t men have something more reliable too? But they also don’t want to be pumped full of hormones …

Maybe some of you have heard about it before (I’ve read it online a few years ago, but forgot about it again until yesterday), but there’s a non-hormonal, male contraceptive in development. Actually, there’s two.

<center>![](https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/395285212252340225/443022371151151104/dna-divider.png)</center>

First, there was RISUG® (stands for *Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance*), which was developed and is being studied in India. It’s *styrene-maleic anhydride*, which is injected into the *vas deferens* ([which is a duct that transports sperm from the epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts]( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vas_deferens)) and is supposed to change the pH, which damages the sperm and prevents it from moving normally.
So far, RISUG® is not officially on the market, despite being tested for a while now<sup>3</sup>. Additionally, reversal of this process has so far only been tested in animals, not human test subjects<sup>4</sup>. In case you were already planning to fly to India and get this injection, you might now want to wait a bit with that. <sub><sub><sub><sub><sub><sub><sub><sub><sub><sub>@suesa</sub></sub></sub></sub></sub></sub></sub></sub></sub></sub>

After RISUG®, the Parsemus Foundation in the USA started developing Vasalgel™. A quote from [their homepage]( https://www.parsemus.org/projects/vasalgel/) reads:

> VasalgelTM is a long-acting, nonhormonal contraceptive with a significant advantage over vasectomy: it is likely to be more reversible.

… ***likely***? That’s not as encouraging as some of you might have hoped. Why do they only say *likely*?

They can’t claim yet that it’s working in humans, because clinical trials are supposed to start this year (2018), provided they have enough funding <sup>4</sup>. But the animal experiments look good so far.

<center>![](https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/395285212252340225/443022371151151104/dna-divider.png)</center>

In contrary to RISUG®, Vasalgel™ is styrene-alt-maleic *acid*, not an *anhydride*. Anhydrides are possibly less stable when in contact with water, which in an environment like the human body isn’t too unlikely. The lack of anhydrides is supposed to make Vasalgel™ more stable. It’s also injected into the vas deferens, but instead of damaging the sperm, it forms a blockage, preventing it from exiting<sup>5</sup>. This does *not* mean no ejaculation happens! The fluid just doesn’t contain sperm<sup>4</sup>.

They successfully tested this in male (…obviously) rabbits. Before adding the Vasalgel™, they established a baseline for the amount of sperm found in the ejaculate. Aside from some exceptions where the animals turned out oligospermic ( = they had semen with a low concentration of sperm, which is likely not enough to impregnate a female), the test animals exhibited an azoospermia (= no sperm in semen) after 29-36 days, which was still effective 12 months later<sup>5</sup>.

The injections tested were actually two different ones, 100% the acid and an 80:20 mix of acid-anhydride.

 <center>![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmb5dpy1jZoD8puCSa91b5MbMz2DeT3KKKmt1P4r1S8pq4/grafik.png)</center><sub>*figure 1 Sperm concentration during baseline and implant conditions for the two test articles.*
This image is licensed under a [CC Attribution 4.0 International License]( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). © [Waller et al., 2016]( https://bacandrology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12610-016-0033-8)</sub>

As you can see in the figure above, there was no real difference between the two injections.

14 months after the injection, the researchers used *sodium bicarbonate* to flush the Vasalgel out and reverse the effect. After that, the sperm count was initially higher than the baseline (figure 2), likely due to full reserves. Soon, it reached normal levels again<sup>6</sup>.

 <center>![](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmXfaZ529JRju9UfseHooTSj4RWoziBfWTq5re6WpbQrjW/grafik.png)</center><sub>*figure 2 Sperm concentration (x 106) during baseline and following reversal procedures*
This image is licensed under a [CC Attribution 4.0 International License]( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). © [Waller et al., 2017]( https://bacandrology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12610-017-0051-1)</sub>

Mobility also returned to normal, while forward progression was lower, but improved over time, suggesting that after enough recovery time, this too would return to normal<sup>6</sup>.

<center>![](https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/395285212252340225/443022371151151104/dna-divider.png)</center>

Now, rabbits are great and all, but how do we know that this might work in humans?

It was tested on monkeys (rhesus macaque monkeys to be specific) of course<sup>3</sup>! Getting a permit to do that is a lot harder than to test on rabbits and mice, just so you know, at least in Germany.

The monkeys were, just as the rabbit, put under anesthesia and had an operation to introduce Vasalgel™ into their vas deferens. They were then put back with a group of fertile females, allowing them to … try to reproduce. In which they failed, to their dismay and the joy of the researchers! The contraceptive had worked, which allows Vasalgel™ to move on to the clinical studies in humans<sup>3</sup>. 

And when can we expect this to happen?

Clinical studies take time and cost money. The Parsemus Foundation appears to be relying on donations to secure their funding<sup>4</sup>, and if you think about it, it should come to no surprise. A one-time injection is far less profitable than have someone buy a monthly supply of pills or a pack of expensive condoms. Additionally, Parsemus claims that they want to make the injection *“available close to cost in low-income countries, and affordable to those in every income level in the U.S.”* <sup>4</sup>.

Sounds [promising](https://steemit.com/science/@suesa/why-promising-doesn-t-mean-cure)! But we will see how it progresses.

<center>![](https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/395285212252340225/443022371151151104/dna-divider.png)</center>


What do you think? Is it time for something like this to hit the market? Would you do it yourself? This is something I’m really curious about because many men already complain about using a condom. Would you undergo a (reversible) surgical procedure to avoid impregnating someone on accident? Or should your partner be responsible for taking the pill?

Also, please keep in mind that this contraception only prevents *pregnancies*. To protect yourself from STDs, you’d *still* need to use a condom. Personally, I’d see it more as double insurance, but would you still consider it “worth it”? Or is it only something for when you’re in a long-term relationship where you know your partner is STD-free and you’re not using a condom?

Let me know!

---
##### Sources:

<br>

<sup>1</sup>[Birth Control]( https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control)

<sup>2</sup>[Benefits and risks of hormonal contraception for women]( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3011324/)

<sup>3</sup>[The contraceptive efficacy of intravas injection of Vasalgel™ for adult male rhesus monkeys]( https://bacandrology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12610-017-0048-9?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000618)

<sup>4</sup>[Vasalgel - Parsemus Foundation]( https://www.parsemus.org/projects/vasalgel/)

<sup>5</sup>[Azoospermia in rabbits following an intravas injection of Vasalgel ™]([https://bacandrology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12610-016-0033-8)

<sup>6</sup>[Reversibility of Vasalgel™ male contraceptive in a rabbit model]( https://bacandrology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12610-017-0051-1)


---
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<center><sub>GIF was created for me by @saywha and @atopy , rest of the signature by @overkillcoin</sub></center>
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@hanen ·
$0.04
I always think condoms are the best way or just to check the fertility days and keep everything under control. As you said whatever is available in the market is for women and have side-effect. So why do we risk it!
👍  
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@suesa ·
The fertility days thing _can_ work but it's not as easy, so I'd generally recommend against it (especially because sperm can survive several days, up to a week inside the vagina. So you miscalculate just slightly and ... baby!).
I personally don't trust condoms alone, that's why I also rely on the pill. And I really don't trust myself keeping track of my fertility days that well ^^
👍  
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@hanen ·
$0.04
Well the fertility days thing worked for me for years without any problem, using an app as well to keep track of everything. My friend was taking pills and they made her stressful and nervous all time. When she stopped taking them everything was OK.
👍  
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@hadji ·
$3.33
This is a good article that could spark hot debates. I totally agree with you that the majority of contraceptives have focused on females and little on males, hence these supposed non-hormonal contraceptives for males is a welcomed development. I just wished research can also intensify towards developing non-hormonal contraceptives for females as well.

Interestingly, while contraceptives have only focused on females, creating sexual satisfaction during the act has mostly focused on males. I have seen zillions (permit my hyperbole) of penis enlargement drugs and very little of vagina tightening substances. THis is another area of debate as most male organ enlargement drugs (really dont know how effective they are) tend to have their own side effects as well.
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@suesa ·
Yeah, I'd prefer to have something non-hormonal but highly reliable for myself too ... oh well.

And idk if a vagina tightening substance would be that desired by women, could be uncomfortable ... I'd say the sex toy industry is more focused on women, so that's something :P
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@utopian-io ·
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@samminator ·
$0.04
These new contraceptives (RISUG and Vasalgel) look promising - at least they would provide better substitute for those contraceptives that mutilate the hormonal balance. 

However, some people could have some reservations about injecting chemical substances directly to their vas deferens; due to the fact that there could be a possibility of a long term effect. I want to ask: What side effect (if any) has been anticipated for such kind of contraceptive?

PS: What of the regular spermicidal creams, can't they get the work done?

Nice exposition Suesa
👍  
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vote details (1)
@suesa ·
The only side effects they found in the animal models were from post-op complications, the injection itself didn't seem to have any negative side effects. Of course, clinical trials are still required to confirm the same effect in men.

Spermicidal creams do work, planned parenthood claims a 71% effectiveness. That's ... not enough in my opinion ^^
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@anroja ·
For men there are very limited contraceptives available, the most for women, where all there are side effects. In women the most common side effect is irregular menstruation.
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@mzajoke ·
$0.04
At last there are contraceptives for males too.. Contraceptives for females always have side effects like reaching menopause at a younger age.. I hope men would heed to using contraceptives too not assigning it to women.. Its both parties duty to avoid pregnacy if they dont want it.. Thanks @suesa for this article, its gonna help lot of people
👍  ,
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@lemony-cricket ·
$0.04
> After that, the sperm count was initially higher than the baseline (figure 2), likely due to full reserves. 

Interesting. So there is a buildup of sperm that happens while this stuff is in. I suppose that might help actually, because the only reason you'd have it taken out is that you wanted a kid. So you get a built-in head-start maybe ^_^

> Personally, I’d see it more as double insurance, but would you still consider it “worth it”? 

Until we have suitable cures for all the STIs, my vote is to always use condoms. 

I do think that is something we should be working toward, though. Eliminating STIs that is. I know it's probably not the most important priority, but I'd really like to see it happen. Even if it's just because I would like to see the horror in religious fundamentalists' eyes when they lose their last non-metaphysical platform for sex-negativity. :P
👍  
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vote details (1)
@suesa ·
$0.03
Fully agree, STIs are something we should really get rid of. Instead, we got multidrug resistant gonorrhea 
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/28/health/uk-man-multidrug-resistant-gonorrhea-intl/index.html?sr=twCNN032818uk-man-multidrug-resistant-gonorrhea-intl0150PMVODtop
👍  
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@lemony-cricket ·
$0.04
Well that's unhappy. About the only thing almost as good would be effective instant testing of some sort. "Don't trust, verify."
👍  
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vote details (1)
@sciencetech ·
$0.04
@Suesa

Wow! I am happy at these discoveries that are still undergoing routine scientific tests in mice and monkey. One time injection is far better than having to undergo painful invasive processes or resort to the use of condom which sometimes get tore in the process of copulation. I am really excited at this and looking forwards to the final outcome. Thanks

@sciencetech 
STEM contributor
👍  
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@zemiatin ·
I freaking hate condoms. I feel like they take all the pleasure away. So I definitely support everything that might make us not need a rubber.
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@suesa ·
Still gotta look out for those STDs tho.
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@ekongwealth ·
It is i believe a great way to responsibly control unwanted pregnancies when both parties are not ready to start a family. But what of when they ready to commit,is the process reversible?
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@suesa ·
>14 months after the injection, the researchers used sodium bicarbonate to flush the Vasalgel out and reverse the effect. After that, the sperm count was initially higher than the baseline (figure 2), likely due to full reserves. Soon, it reached normal levels again6.

Yes, so far, it works in rabbits. They still have to test it in humans though.
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@eurogee · (edited)
Hello @suesa

This is important development in birth control and family planning I must say. RISUG® and Vasalgel™  being reversible is good cuz couples can later decide to increase the size of their family by one or two more kids as case may be. Thanks for sharing.

Regards

@eurogee of @euronation and @steemstem communities
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@egotheist ·
$0.04
Children are the scourge of mankind. The more possibilites to prevent them from existing, the better.
👍  
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@apsu ·
$0.10
As a former child I would say this is not true, as adults and the elderly are typically scourging far more.
👍  , ,
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@apsu ·
$0.04
I once was looking for a contraceptive options for men, as I didn't want to use a condom and I was ready to use the contraceptive instead of the woman.

I was surprised how there were no such options for men. All contraceptives were either putting on the condom or sterilizing myself.

I felt really bad at that point.

Especially as I was looking for the contraceptives when a girl was looking for a man for a one night stand in hopes of getting a baby. I wasn't ready become a father (I was 17 at that point) and I wanted to get laid. It ended with me not getting laid.

A sad story, I know.
👍  
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@suesa ·
$0.02
And now you have a kid. I think something went wrong along the way.

Then again, you really *should* use a condom with a ONS, or you might end up with chlamydia -or worse.
👍  
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@tezmel · (edited)
$0.04
This is a topic that recently spark hot debates in my country. MOST African men still believe that the responsibility of planning a family falls on the shoulders of a woman as she's the one who gives birth so to say. This and the fact that barrenness is also a woman's fault as men with low-sperm count deny it is their problem is something I am hoping to live to see change. For the moment, I just wish more women in Africa can embrace family planning completely (traditions still limit most of them) before wishing men would even think about male family planning leave alone embracing it themselves.
👍  
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@suesa ·
$0.04
It's always an eye-opener to read comments like this from you. Living in Germany, issues like this seem incredibly far away. Nobody here (except maybe for some overly religious undereducated weirdos) would think that a man can't be the reason that a woman can't get pregnant...
This makes the problems women here deal with so different from the problems women in your country deal with.
👍  
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@tezmel ·
$0.03
In return, your posts give me a scale of how far we as African women have to go to change and elevate ourselves. I am proud of this far but I am also hoping we cover more ground before raising our daughters the same way we raised. Hope that makes sense.
👍  
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@creativetruth ·
$0.04
No, I am too old fashioned to ever want this done to me. I promise I will not add to the gene pool.
👍  
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@suesa ·
Fingers crossed then :P
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@creativetruth ·
For what?
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@utopian-io ·
#### Hi @suesa!

Your post was upvoted by utopian.io in cooperation with steemstem - supporting knowledge, innovation and technological advancement on the Steem Blockchain.

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Learn how to contribute on <a href="https://join.utopian.io">our website</a> and join the new open source economy.

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@osariemen ·
>What do you think? Is it time for something like this to hit the market? Would you do it yourself?

as impressive as it sounds or look why would any man with 2balls wants such.....  even vasectomy people are still scared of going through that process or what do you think about vasectomy 

Disclaimer: `Please I am a born again.... I don't know all this things ooo. `
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@mulawarman ·
Thank you
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@soanna ·
It is a promising therapeutic alternative, however the patient should be educated that does not prevent it from veneral diseases. great!
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