Male Birth Control Inches Closer - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Male Birth Control Inches Closer

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM - A long-hoped-for birth control method for men could finally be on the way. Or at least, we're getting closer.

Indian scientist Sujoy Guha has developed a male contraceptive called (unfortunately enough) Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance, and it's starting to get recognition in the U.S.

RISUG, as we'll call it, works like this: Men receive an injection of chemicals that form a gel along the vas deferens -- the pathway that transports sperm, writes Ars Technica.

The gel can last for 10 to 15 years. During that time it both reduces the number of sperm making the trip, and also physically disables the ones that do make it safely through the passageway. According to WIRED, despite battling skeptics at each step, Guha "has prevailed because, in study after study, RISUG has been proven to work 100 percent of the time."

And the icing on the cake? The major concern with vasectomies -- the only form of male contraception other than condoms -- is that they are not always reversible, a risk many men are unwilling to take. According to the researchers involved, RISUG solves that problem. At any point the man can receive a second injection that dissolves the sperm-blocking gel and reverses the contraceptive.

The RISUG method has been in clinical trials in India for several years, and recently U.S. researchers took notice and will start testing it out here. Elaine Lissner, director of the Male Contraception Information Project in San Francisco, bought the rights to the technique and will repeat the clinical trial process in the U.S. in hopes of readying it for FDA approval, reports Jezebel, a process that could likely take a long time.

RISUG isn't the only potential male contraceptive making waves. ABC News reported today on a new drug called BMS-189453, which is said to quickly and reversibly stop sperm production. From ABC:

Developed more than 10 years ago as a possible treatment for skin and inflammatory diseases, the drug's sperm-stunting potential was originally considered a toxic side effect. "One company's toxin may be another person's contraceptive," said Debra Wolgemuth, a professor of genetics as well as obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center.
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