A key goal for Vasalgel is that it would not only be an effective long-acting male contraceptive, but also be reversible: a Vasalgel user who decides he wants to have children would be able to get his sperm flow restored with the injection of a liquid that dissolves the gel. In rabbit studies, an injection of a dissolving solution was able to flush Vasalgel from the vas deferens and restore the sperm flow — but this has proved trickier so far in larger animals. Will reversal work in men?
To better understand how much the answer matters to people who are interested in Vasalgel, we invited Vasalgel Update readers to take a brief survey.
4,467 of you responded. The great majority (87%) identified as “a guy who needs (or might need) contraception.” These respondents were presented with additional questions, such as whether they’d consider freezing their sperm (a somewhat expensive option, unfortunately) as a way to “keep the door open” to having kids in the future in case Vasalgel isn’t reliably reversible; 22.3% said they would. Most of the men (78.2%) don’t have kids. 22.5% plan to have kids in the future (or more kids, if they already have any), and 18.3% aren’t sure.
For just over half (53%) of the men, reversibility is not essential to their interest in Vasalgel. 87.3% of male respondents said they’d see Vasalgel as being better than vasectomy even if it turns out not to be reliably reversible.
Who responded? About half (52%) of the respondents were in their twenties; 35% in their thirties; 8% in their forties; only 1.5% were over 50. We knew Vasalgel supporters trended young, and this confirmed it! Most (76.5%) were in the U.S.; 6.5% were in Canada; 3.4% were in the U.K., 2.4% in Australia; 1.6% in Sweden; and 1.5% in Germany.
The survey also invited comments. A lot of people thought irreversibility was not a dealbreaker, but the ones who wanted reversibility were passionate about it. Here’s a sampling from men:
- “If you want a breakthrough product then reversibility is key.”
- “Without reversibility, Vasalgel has the potential to be a great male contraceptive in the place of a vasectomy, but with reversibility it can be a game changer.”
- “Get the product out there and then refine it.”
- “The greater the chance of reversibility, the larger the portion of the population that will be interested.”
- “Clog my baby cannon already!”
Here is a sampling of comments from women:
- “A good male contraceptive would be reversible, just like female ones.”
- “While I am sure that it is important to a lot of men who want Vasalgel on the market, it is not necessarily as important to me because of increases in reproductive technology. You could offer freezing sperm along with the treatment, for example, just in case of something going wrong.”
- “Would love another contraceptive option that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of children someday.”
- “For us, we’re later in life and just looking for a guarantee that won’t include some of the unfortunate complications friends have had with vasectomies.”
Thanks to everyone who participated. And please be assured: we’re continuing to work on reversibility, in parallel with getting Vasalgel to market as a vasectomy alternative as quickly as possible!