Male Contraceptives: Balls to the Snip!
I've been bitching about contraception for years, since in my experience it often ends up being the woman's problem. Some blokes are still trying to wiggle out of putting on a condom, and in the 50 years since the pill went public women have subjected themselves to the ‘side effects’ of fucking with your hormones: depression, weight gain, skin problems, breast pain, loss of sex drive, and migraines, to name but a few. But I never considered how disappointing contraception options are for men. A guy who wants control of his sexual destiny is basically limited to a choice between abstinence, latex or The Snip: not an edifying selection. I mean, we've been to the moon, but we couldn't come up with a male pill?
What if it didn't have to be like that? What if 15 minutes would guarantee you 10 foetus-free years? Imagine a world in which sex could be enjoyed without the winkie-shrivelling terror of unwanted babies; without the endless series of modification processes: injections, implants, objects wedged in your cervix.
This may be possible, thanks to Sujoy K. Guha at the Indian Institute of Technology. His male contraceptive procedure RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance) has been tested in India for over 30 years with overwhelmingly positive results. Here's what happens:
A doctor makes a tiny hole in your ballsack. Through this he extracts the vans deferens, which is the tube sperm travels through to get from the testes to the penis. Instead of severing it as they would during a vasectomy, he injects it with polymer gel (named Vasalgel in the USA) made up of styrene maleic anhydride and dimethyl sulfoxide. The vans deferens is popped back inside your bollock, and the process repeated for the other tube. He sticks a plaster on your balls, and you go about your business! It's a 15 minute procedure that lasts for ten years, and is easily reversible with another injection and a short wait (around 1-2 months).
Does this seem insanely simple? It is. The polymer gel hardens over 72 hours, coating the walls of the vans deferens but allowing fluids to pass through, thus avoiding some of the complications associated with vasectomy. When you ejaculate the positively charged polymer reacts with the negatively charged sperm to tear them apart like Dr Manhattan in Watchmen (but your sperm don't come back as giant blue superheroes, you'll be sorry to hear). With no pregnancies reported after RISUG injections, no adverse effects over time, and early trial participants still using their RISUG twenty years later, it starts to sound like the best thing since that smart chap Mr Fromm started dipping glass molds into latex.
The RISUG method moved to the States in 2010 as more research into it was sponsored by the Parsemus Foundation. Studies are under way aiming to have RISUG on the market by 2015. Are you as excited by this as my boyfriend is? Check out the Parsemus Foundation website (www.parsemusfoundation.org) for information and to make donations. If this thing takes off, we could be looking at a revolutionised contraception experience: fewer teen pregnancies, fewer unplanned babies, fewer abortions. The shadowy figures of STDs are still looming over our beds but, while we're on the subject, the Parsemus Foundation is also exploring a male contraceptive called the ‘clean sheets’ pill, which has the possibility of reducing or maybe even eliminating all semen born STDs. Yeah, that's right. You heard me. Spread the word, and bring on the future.