Contraceptives for Men
For those who are sexually active and do not want pregnancy as a result, there are a number of options for both men and women. According to the Planned Parenthood website, there are five such choices for men, including abstinence, outercourse (which is “sex play that keeps sperm out of the vagina to prevent pregnancy”), vasectomy, withdrawal and condoms (plannetparenthood.org). The rate of failure for the latter two is normally higher than contraceptives for women (kinseyconfidential.org).
As such, there is a new product currently being tested out called Vasalgel. The methodology behind the product is similar to a vasectomy where the vas deferens, the tubes sperm swim through, are clamped, cut or sealed hence preventing the sperm from mixing in with the semen ejaculated during sexual intercourse (webmd.com). With Vasalgel however, “a gel substance is injected in each tube to block sperm from getting to the penis” (kinseyconfidential.org) making it different in the sense that it is more easily reversible than a vasectomy, for the gel can be flushed out when needed.
Like most new products, there are a variety of questions that comes with it. Some have to do with whether or not there will still be ejaculation and how long it will last. As to the former, ejaculation will still result but sperm will not be in the mix, for the fluid that arises out of such comes from the seminal fluid and prostate gland, which are not affected in the process. Additionally, as far as ascertaining how long it lasts, more testing is needed.
Due to the fact that Vasalgel could be a long-term solution for men, certain big pharmaceutical companies may fight against its production. This is due to the fact that “these companies make their money off a pill that must be taken every day and thus replenished; this cycle keeps the cash coming in” (medicaldaily.com).
There are other considerations when it comes to this product as well. There is a societal element to it, for it may reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies amongst lower-income families where such is higher (kinseyconfidential.org). Also, Vasalgel “could also offer an alternative to female hormonal contraception, freeing women from potential side effects associated with chemically altering the menstrual cycle” (kinseyconfidential.org). Moreover, without the use of condoms, it may increase the spread of sexually transmitted disease (medicaldaily.com). Human trials will commence in 2016, allowing for some of the concerns to be addressed.
Vasalgel of course, may not be the ultimate solution for some, but it does offer another option. Society’s reaction to such may also allow further insight into the perceived roles for men and women.