Foundation News

What about vas deferens valves?

You may have seen news recently about a German vas deferens valve developed for contraceptive purposes. If only it were so easy! All sorts of valves were tried in the 1970’s, and new ones crop up every once in a while; the problem is that anything hard tends to either poke through the vas deferens, or leak. Ouch!

Vasalgel avoids this by being a soft hydrogel, and so far so good for effectiveness and safety (rabbits, baboons, and dogs). Thanks to all our donors who supported the testing, so that Vasalgel is more than just a cool idea!

Vasalgel is similar to a previous contraceptive that was developed in India and has been shown to be reversible, but the reversibility of Vasalgel is still unclear (and of course reversibility is what would make it revolutionary versus vasectomy). It’s been shown to be reversible in rabbits, but not so far in larger animals. The Vasalgel team is moving full speed ahead towards clinical trial, while working on the reversibility question simultaneously, figuring some men are okay with a permanent end to their reproductive capability.

We don’t mean to sound like party poopers or “ours is the only one”— in fact, Parsemus Foundation also maintains the Male Contraception Information Project website (archived now), which covers most of the different methods in development, and we helped the Male Contraception Initiative get off the ground (they’re independent now). But hard-material valves seem like a long shot based on all the ones that have been tried and failed before (including some recent attempts). On the other hand, we’d be really excited to see something like gandarusa or the Clean Sheets Pill get tested— those both show a lot of promise and would really add variety to men’s options.

Everyone who cares about contraceptive options should be happy about any solution that works, so if the German valve proves to be effective, more power to them!