From our newest guest contributor, Sherri Goodman —
Did you know that more people are getting it on during the holidays than any other time of the year? According to Adam and Eve, contraception sales reach their peak worldwide during the month of December. While that spike probably makes condom manufacturers happy, the days of consumers spending a portion of their holiday bonuses on prophylactics could be numbered. Thanks to the progression taking place on the development of several male contraception prototypes, condom sales could be in for a significant nose-dive in the coming years.
As TRPWL has previously discussed, gel injection Vasalgel is a first-of-its-kind form of birth control for men, providing them with their own form of contraceptive treatment.
Vasalgel is a non-hormonal polymer that blocks the vas deferens, the “duct” within the male anatomy that carries sperm from the epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts. Essentially, the gel blocks the sperm in the same way that a vasectomy cuts off the supply. And just as a vasectomy is reversible, the gel can also be dissolved by way of a second injection, allowing sperm to once again travel to the ejaculatory ducts.
So far the drug has only been tested on Baboons, but it’s proven to be effective in preventing pregnancy. Recent reports from ABC News claimed a group from the San Francisco Bay Area is hoping to begin clinical trials on human participants soon.
But Vasalgel isn’t the only form of male birth control racing to hit the market. The Los Angeles Daily News recently reported that the National Family Planning Coordination Board and Airlangga University has found that properties from the leaves of the gendarussa plant can be utilized to make a male birth control pill.
As writer Patrick Winn explains, “Tribesmen in Indonesia’s jungly island of Papua have long known this shrub prevents their wives from getting pregnant. In recent years, Indonesian scientists have tested pills synthesized from gendarussa on hundreds of male subjects.” The project’s lead scientist, Bambang Prajogo, said that results of the testing showed the pill to be 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.
The pill derived from the gendarussa plant has quite a few advantages over Vasalgel. First, taking the medicine in the form of a pill would have significant appeal to the public over an injection. Second, the product has already been proven successful on humans. And lastly, the 350 men who took part in the study reported little to no side effects while taking the pill. Prajogo attributes this to the fact that it “doesn’t tinker with hormones,” which are usually to blame for the unpleasant side effects associated with female birth control pills.
However, Vasalgel provides a more permanent birth control solution without the need for daily pills. In addition, although Vasalgel is just starting clinical trials and hoping to enter the market in 2017, the news that men could see male birth control pills using extracts from the gendarussa plant released on the Indonesian market doesn’t necessarily prove to be good news for the U.S.
There’s a much higher possibility of a giant pharmaceutical firm swooping in for a piece of the action in the States. Prajogo said he’s already turned down an offer worth billions in funding and lab facilities from a major US firm who wanted to patent the pill. While they may have turned down a large offer the first time, it’s uncertain if they’ll choose to do so in the future.
Unfortunately, even though it holds far fewer perks, it appears that the most likely product to become available to Americans in the next few years is the option that requires them to get a little prick in their… well, you know. You’ll just have to decide for yourself if the pain is worth it.