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Male pill to become available by 2018

The first form of reversible contraception for men since the 1920s the male contraceptive ‘pill’ has been approved by the FDA and is likely to become available by 2018.

Brainchild of the Parsemus Foundation, VasalgelTM will likely become the first long-lasting, reversible form of contraceptive available for men. With trials in humans about to begin, there is speculation about its potential to revolutionise modern-market contraceptives.

Dubbed the ‘Male Contraceptive Pill’, it is confusingly available as an injection of gel which forms a barrier inside a male’s sperm carrying tubes. This barrier works by preventing only the sperm from passing, meaning it is eventually reabsorbed by the body. Lasting several years, the gel remains as an active contraceptive until it is flushed out by a second injection.

Whilst this may initially sound unappealing and invasive, millions of men undergo vasectomies each year. These are surgical procedures causing permanent infertility – currently the only long term contraceptive available for men.  As a non-hormonal, non-steroidal and reversible alternative, Vasalgel is likely to become very popular. It also has the potential to be beneficial to women, making contraceptives more of an equal gender concern and relieving the pressure to take hormone based pills to avoid pregnancy.

However, a general worry inevitably surrounds Vasalgel as a new approach to contraception.  Some students have concerns that the gel will lead to an increase in unprotected sex as pregnancy will be less of a worry. They worry that this, in turn, has the capacity to increase the prevalence of sexually transmitted disease. Other individuals are also concerned about the impact of Vasalgel on their health and fertility.

It may not be long before the ‘male pill’ reaches the market. Although there are concerns surrounding Vasalgel, the innovation behind the product has the potential to completely change the type of contraceptives available today – undoubtedly offering a more convenient, long-term approach to pregnancy prevention.

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Rebecca Honeyman

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