If you’ve been reading trending news stories lately, you’ve probably heard about the stalled male birth control trial which resulted in a range of side effects in participants. The side effects included acne, mood swings and muscle pain.
Despite the uproar over this study, almost no mention has been made of other male birth controls such as Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance (RISUG) and Vasalgel. These methods are non-hormonal, reversible, cheap and have limited or no side effects.
RISUG has been in testing in India since 1990 and has been through multiple studies, but limited due to few participants and changes to medical testing guidelines which caused testing to be restarted in 2011.
Similar to a vasectomy, RISUG works by blockage of the vas deferens. Unlike a vasectomy, however, the vessel is blocked with a dissolvable polymer, instead of being cut and cauterised. The polymer can easily be dissolved with an injection of a sodium bicarbonate solution. The cost is extremely low and once off and can be effective for up to ten years.
A newer version of the procedure, named Smart RISUG, is less invasive and allows for easier removal of the polymer, specifically for men who only want short term birth control.
There are a range of other male birth control methods which are also in the creation or testing phase, including the ‘dry orgasm’ pill, targeted ultrasound contraceptive treatment, Gendarussa and Retionoic-acid receptor antagonists (RAR-antagonists).
These are just some examples of the various options available for men, which have not had the funding or participation available for full testing and production.
Which method do you think should receive more publicity, funding and testing?