Male birth control shows positive results
Condom-free male birth control could soon be available, taking the pressure off of women to take hormonal forms of contraception. The reversible contraception is completely reversible and requires just one injection, which could make it the much simplest form or long-term birth control.
Known as Vasalgel, the injection works by blocking the tube that sperms travel through. It does this with a spongy hydrogel, which works by blocking sperm but allowing other bodily fluids to pass through. This means that men would still be able to ejaculate but would not release any sperm when they did.
The treatment has not yet progressed to human trials, but research so far suggests the treatment will be reversible, meaning men would still be able to have children in the future if they wished. Currently, the only form of male birth control available is vasectomy, which can be reversed in some cases but isn't always successful.
Research into the contraception has also found that there has been no evidence of complications or immune reactions to Vasalgel, but more testing is needed to prove its effectiveness before it is made widely available.
While Vasalgel may be good for helping to reduce the likelihood of pregnancy in the future, it doesn't protect against the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This means that condoms will still be required in order to reduce the chances of catching STIs if a man has had the injection.
The same goes for current forms of female hormonal contraception, as these also do not stop STIs. They are also not 100 per cent effective, which is why doubling up protection by using a condom is recommended; especially as this will also help protect against STIs.
It isn't yet known when Vasalgel will be available for men, but the Parsemus Foundation, which is developing it, is hoping it reaches the market sometime next year. Whenever it becomes an option, it is likely to be a game changer in the world of contraception.