A male contraceptive method with long-term effect will be tested for the first time in Australia. A substance, based on hydrogel, will be injected into the vas deferens that carry sperm to prevent them from reaching the testicles. The effect of the hydrogel is expected to last about two years and could then be reinjected, offering an alternative to vasectomy, which is expected to have a permanent effect instead.
Twenty-five men at a hospital in Melbourne, Australia, will be involved in the study, the Guardian reported. So far, researchers at Epworth Freemasons in Melbourne have performed the procedure on four men.
Participants will be monitored for three years: researchers will analyze samples and subject subjects to regular health checks. The study’s principal investigator and Epworth Freemasons urologist Nathan Lawrentschuk said the study will examine whether the hydrogel is indeed a nonpermanent alternative to male contraception.
“If successful, it could be a turning point, ensuring that contraception is a shared responsibility among couples,” Lawrentschuk states. Currently, vasectomies and condoms are the only available form of male contraception.