So here’s you, a simple man or woman in a committed relationship with someone you trust. You have sex with this person but you’re not ready for a child yet and so you use birth control. You may even use a combination of birth-control methods. If you’re a woman you may be taking birth control pills for no other reason than to prevent pregnancy. If you’re like some women I’ve dated, you may hate these pills because they make you feel weird or cause weight gain. If this is the case, you might get off the pill but what to do about de bebies? Well, your man may wear a condom which both he and you hate. You may also use spermicide in combination with this condom which may leave the ladies’ nether regions unconscionably wet long after lovin’ time is over and all the cigarettes have been smoked.
Trying not to have babies while trying to have a healthy, spontaneous sex life can suck. But now there’s a new kid on the block and he promises to be the most awesome thing to ever exist in the world of birth control. It’s called Vasalgel and it’s very similar to a gel developed by Dr. Sujoy K. Guha 15 years ago. Vasalgel is being developed and funded through the Parsemus Foundation, a nonprofit organization.
How Does It Work?
Using Vasalgel, a small amount of polymer (nontoxic) is injected into a man’s vas deferens. The polymer then essentially mangles the sperm that pass through the polymer during ejaculation. Mangled sperm are unable to reach their target, the egg, and no pregnancy occurs. Even better, Vasalgel is completely reversible. If at any point you decide that today is baby time, you would just go to your doctor, receive a second injection that dissolves the polymer, and it would pass harmlessly out of your body. But until you decide to have it removed it can stay in and remains effective for up to 15 years. Let me repeat that—15 years. From the Parsemus homepage regarding current trials for entry into the U.S. market:
In early 2010, Parsemus Foundation began developing a polymer contraceptive for the rest of the world outside India. The new polymer contraceptive is called Vasalgel™, and 12 months of rabbit studies have shown no sperm from the second semen sample onwards! Sperm flow quickly returned in rabbits that had the polymer flushed out. The goal is to have it on the market as an alternative to vasectomy as soon as possible, with the first clinical trial expected to begin in 2014.
No pills, no condoms, no spermicide, and it’s far more effective than any birth control currently on the market. In every test of the product, the only failure rate out of 250 volunteers was due to an improper injection of the polymer. Barring that one instance of error, the polymer has been 100% effective. No other form of birth control can say that. From a recent Parsemus Foundation press release also regarding trials for the U.S. market:
Three baboon subjects from the original study have now had Vasalgel for 6 months. To make sure that it is still working prior to reversal, we decided to give all of the males an opportunity to mate with females to ensure that no pregnancies occur. Each of the three male baboons was moved into enclosures with 10-15 females (yes, that’s 10-15 each!) a month ago. And the good news? So far no pregnancies. But they will remain with the females for at least a few more weeks just to be sure.
Vasalgel is also cheap. It promises to be far cheaper than endless purchases of pills, condoms, etc., which means that it is the ideal form of birth control for developing countries such as India, where it was invented. It would remove roadblocks to birth control such as lack of consistent infrastructure that require repeat visits to the doctor or health clinics and removes the “birth control routine” from the daily lives of men and women everywhere. In short, it would be the most important development in reproductive self-determination since the birth control pill but with none of the negatives.
Why Isn’t This Already On The Market?
Because pharmaceutical companies don’t want to invest in something cheap that you only have to administer once every 15 years. They’d much rather keep selling women birth control pills that they have to take every day and pay for every month. They’d much rather keep selling women hormone-based products that they can tweak and re-market and re-brand in the everlasting search for the perfect pill.
As a result, this technology that’s so groundbreaking is having to raise all its own money:
Vasalgel is being developed by the foundation as a “social venture,” a company that makes enough money to stay afloat but not to make anybody rich, with affordable pricing and wide availability as its mandate. The social venture company within the foundation is moving fast on getting the first steps done; however, it won’t have enough money to finish the project, and is fundraising right now for the pivotal monkey study and will be turning to the public in 2014 to crowdfund the clinical trials.
Go donate; every little bit helps. Ladies, if you’re in a monogamous relationship with someone you trust, then free yourself from taking pills if you don’t need them for other reasons. Gentlemen, if you’re in a monogamous relationship with someone you trust, free her from pills and free yourself from condoms.
I just gave $25, but give whatever you can.
The technology that Vasagel is based on has already been in use in human beings in India for over 10 years with no subjects experiencing any ill effects during that time period. It’s time for the FDA to move this product along and bring it to the public in the name of the public interest. The project hopes to come to the market by 2017, but they need help to make that happen.