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The male contraceptive

The male contraceptive could be here by 2017 – would you use it?

This week the news broke that by 2017 there could be a simple, effective male contraceptive available on the market. That’s just three years away!

Apart from condoms – one of the most common forms of contraception – most options on the market are designed for women to use. The birth control pill, the injection, the coil and the implant: all are methods that require a woman to take control. Previous experiments with male contraceptive pills have been met with criticism or uncertainty – many women worry that with a pill, they’re reliant on their partner’s memory to make sure they don’t get pregnant.

How will the male contraceptive work? 

The solution announced this week is different to ‘male pill’ suggestions, in that it’s a long-term contraceptive that doesn’t require a regular reminder. The contraceptive is called Vasalgel – it involves blocking the vas deferens, which is the tube that transports sperm from the testes to the penis. This is the tube that is usually cut during a vasectomy (hence the name!).

Using the gel, the tube can be blocked and sperm prevented from entering the seminal fluid, meaning that while a guy might have an orgasm and ejaculate, he won’t be releasing any of the sperm itself.

The best news is that while it’s a long term solution (the gel will stay there for as long as it needs to) it can be easily reversed. So it can be used for contraception in the early stages of a relationship, then reversed if the couple decide to have children later down the line.

What’s the down side? 

If your’e thinking that sounds great! Sign me/my partner up straight away! you might want to pause for a second. It’s not quite as simple as a pill or a potion – Vasalgel involves an injection into the scrotum. A number of men have shied away from the idea, and writers such as Jessica Valenti have suggested that the injection could be a real stumbling block for guys who would otherwise have considered this contraceptive option.

What do you think – would you (or your partner) be happy to try Vasalgel? Or do you think that it is too invasive? Whether you’re a woman sick of taking all the responsibility (not to mention the effects that can come from taking hormonal contraception) this might sound like music to your ears. Or if you’re a guy who’s keen to be a pioneer of the new style of contraception, you might be counting the days until you can pop to the doctor for a quick injection, and guarantee you’re not going to make your partner pregnant.

In the meantime, though, there’s always condoms, and while Vasalgel might be the answer to your contraceptive questions, we bet it doesn’t come in cherry flavour.

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