Monkeys are smart and social, and for humane reasons must be housed together. But how do you house male and female animals in social groups if you don’t want more offspring? It’s a perennial problem for zoos and research centers. (Right now people are trying to cut down on the number of primates used in research, not bring new animals into the system.) Vasalgel proved to be the answer for rhesus macaque monkeys at one National Primate Research Center.
Sixteen male monkeys received Vasalgel and were returned to their groups. The contraceptive worked great — no babies were sired by these males. Vasalgel allowed the monkeys to enjoy a rich social life and provided benefits over vasectomy in terms of fewer complications. The results have been accepted for publication; keep your eye out in the coming weeks!
Equally exciting is the submission of Part Two of the Vasalgel study in rabbits. This study outlined how after a year of blocking sperm (study published earlier this year), the gel was successfully flushed out. Sperm flow returned almost immediately after the reversal procedure. (More recently we’ve been working to get these same results in larger animals.) The paper catalogs sperm functioning over time.
Stay tuned for announcements when these scientific results are published.