A new method of male contraception is currently undergoing clinical trials at the Epworth Freemasons clinic in Melbourne, reports the Associated Press. This is a hydrogel, the injection of which temporarily blocks the activity of spermatozoa. If the trial is successful, the new method could be an alternative to vasectomy.
The study involved 25 men. All of them will be injected with hydrogel into the vas deferens—the tubes that carry sperm—to stop sperm from reaching the testicles. Doctors suggest that the injection could block the flow of sperm for about two years and become a temporary replacement for a vasectomy, in which the vas deferens is cut, usually permanently. If necessary, the gel can be re-introduced.
Participants in the study will be under the supervision of doctors for three years, taking tests and undergoing regular health checks. If the new method proves successful, it could be a turning point, allowing couples to share the responsibility for contraception equally.
Currently, only two methods of contraception are available to men, vasectomy and condoms, but work is underway on a male contraceptive pill that does not contain hormones. Women have more options: in addition to birth control pills and other temporary measures, these are forms of long-acting contraception such as an intrauterine device, a subcutaneous implant, and regular injections of hormones.