Though controversial, birth control is a friend to a huge chunk of the population. This fact has come with much pain to women, as the potential side effects have been many. Emotional fluctuation, liver damage and migraines are just a few of the many discomforts often required when a woman wants to ensure that a baby doesn’t prematurely arrive to the party.
The day where a consistent, affordable and reliable male contraceptive is readily available will be widely welcomed. Women rejoice, it may be coming soon.
RISUG- The “Reversible Vasectomy”
The most effective method of male birth control since the condom is not a pill like one might assume, it’s actually more closely tied in to a vasectomy. In this case the vas deferens, the male seed carrying vessel that is sealed off during a vasectomy, is manipulated in a different manner, a process called RISUG or reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance.
During RISUG, the vas deferens is surgically extracted from the scrotum, and in lieu of being severed, is simply injected with a one time polymer that coats the walls of the vas. When sperm take their usual route through the vas deferens out into the real world, the injection renders them immobile and unable to fertilize and egg. Millions of little guys are still produced, but they end up as duds.
This one time injection can last for over ten years. The most amazing part is that a counteracting injection exists that can wash away the initial treatment at any point thereafter, providing the possibility for second thoughts that a vasectomy cannot.
The procedure is being perfected in India by scientist Sujoy Guha, who claims to have a 100% success rate over a 30 year period. There has been no shortage in the number of willing applicants, the problem has been the predictably obscene number of hurdles in getting the product to market. The main issue is the lofty required success rate of at least 99%. There can’t be any messing around when it comes to bringing new life into the world. Before the product can get to real clinical trials in the U.S., it has to get the approval of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO visited Sujoy Guha nearly one decade ago to see what all the fuss was about, but left with no major progress. They were not sold on the idea, as the injectable compound was being produced by Guha’s team in his lab, and not in a certified pharmaceutical plant. Guha wasn’t worried as he assumed he’d have approval in India, but concerns as to whether or not the procedure was toxic derailed those plans. Guha seems to have since disproven that notion.
An interested investor fueled by a professor’s claim that a successful male contraceptive would never exist, Elaine Lissner, has worked closely with Guha and purchased the American rights to the procedure. Lissner is gathering funding for clinical trials up to the standards of the scientific community, set to start in 2012. They have repackaged the idea under a catchier name, Vasalgel.
The biggest hurdle facing Sujoy Guha, Elaine Lissner and Vasalgel may be the influence of big business in the contraception industry. Do Vasalgel’s competitors really want to see a reversible vasectomy procedure like Vasalgel become an affordable and widely accessible option?
The U.S. contraception market is unfathomably large, and based around products that are relied upon daily. Sujoy Guha’s brainchild, if successful, would be a one time occurrence over a decade. This would lead to a huge decrease in the steady profits of many currently at the top. It’s certainly conceivable that corporate greed could try to stifle Vasalgel once again.
An effective male birth control is long overdue. With Vasalgel, the side-effects have been minimal, and they’ve involved discomfort and swelling in the weeks following the surgery. If the flawless success rate and lack of side effects can hold up, most guys would be glad to shoulder the contraceptive burden. A birth control for men would certainly lead to happier women, and that’s a side effect that everyone can appreciate.
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