Male Birth Control Inches Closer
A long-hoped-for birth control method for men could finally be on the way. Or at least, we're getting closer.
Indian scientist Sujoy Guha has developed a male contraceptive by the unfortunate name of Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance. And it's starting to get recognition in the U.S.
RISUG, as we'll call it, works like this: Men receive an injection of chemicals that form a gel along the vas deferens -- the pathway that transports sperm.
The gel can last for 10 to 15 years. During that time it both reduces the number of sperm making the trip, and physically disables the ones that do make it safely through the passageway. WIRED Magazine writes that despite battling skeptics at each step, Guha "has prevailed because, in study after study, RISUG has been proven to work 100 percent of the time."
The icing on the cake? The major concern with vasectomies -- currently the only form of male contraception besides condoms -- is that they're not always reversible, and this is a risk many men are unwilling to take. According to the researchers involved, RISUG solves that problem. At any point the man can receive a second injection that dissolves the sperm-blocking gel and reverses the contraceptive.
The RISUG method has been in clinical trials in India for several years. U.S. researchers recently took notice and will start testing it out here. Elaine Lissner, director of the Male Contraception Information Project in San Francisco, bought the rights to the technique and will repeat the clinical trial process in the U.S. in hopes of readying it for FDA approval, writes Jezebel, a process that could likely take a long time.
Developed more than 10 years ago as a possible treatment for skin and inflammatory diseases, the drug's sperm-stunting potential was originally considered a toxic side effect. "One company's toxin may be another person's contraceptive," said Debra Wolgemuth, a professor of genetics as well as obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center.
Ladies, your time may be nigh.