It's no secret that women bear the lion's share of responsibility for preventing pregnancy. And why not? Our options are many and varied - as long as they haven't been recalled. We've got various pills, IUDs, shots, implants, spermicidal topicals, vaginal rings, vaginal caps. Even the birth control sponge has made a comeback in recent years. All men have is the lowly condom. And even though condoms are safe, affordable and effective, asking a man to wear one can be an exercise in futility.
Good news! Vasalgel, an exciting advancement in male birth control brought to consumers by the Parsemus Foundation, is gearing up to begin human trials next year. That's right fellas, soon you'll be able to take complete control over your reproductive health by getting just one simple injection. Vasalgel is designed to be inserted into the vas deferens via a needle. The injected chemical provides a spermicidal barrier that keeps sperm out of ejaculate. Better still, it can last for a decade or more, and is believed to be totally reversible.
Vasalgel is currently being tested on great apes, who, after receiving the injection, copulate with as many as a dozen female apes. No pregnancies have resulted as of yet. The next step in the trial is to flush the chemical out with another needle. If, after the second injection, the apes are able to impregnate their paramour, this will show that Vasalgel is long lasting as well as reversible. That's one small shot in the scrotum, and a giant step forward for male birth control.
The cost of the injection, as well as insurance information, is yet to be determined, but I'd be willing to wager that men will have fewer problems getting their birth control covered than women do—essentially for the same reasons promiscuous men are celebrated while promiscuous women are shamed.
Obviously not all men will be gung-ho about taking a needle in their junk, but Vasalgel will be a good option for couples who want to avoid pregnancy without using condoms. The CDC reports that condom use is way down among teenagers—by almost 50%. If you've got a teenage boy who can't resist the urge to get busy, a single shot that provides a decade of contraception may be a great way to go. True, this method won't prevent STDs, but having an additional option for birth control is certainly a positive thing. (For more contraceptive advice and options for the dudes, read Guys, You're Not Off the Hook When it Comes to Birth Control.)
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