We have been using various methods in general like a condom or a permanent solution like vasectomies when it comes to male contraception. Apart from this, there are no other ways to available, soon this will change as Nanchang University researchers have developed a new male contraceptive method which will be long-lasting, effective, and reversible.
The latest method involves injecting four layers of materials into the vas deferens, the tube that sperm passes through on its way from the testicles to the urethra. Here they first add the calcium alginate hydrogel, some gold nanoparticles, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid(EDTA) and finally another layer of gold nanoparticles in an orderly manner.
Each layer has a purpose of its own where the hydrogel acts as a physical barrier to the sperm. This prevents it from escaping during ejaculation while the EDTA is able to kill sperm as a secondary contraceptive effect.
This process can also be reversed, doctors can apply near-infrared light to the area, which heats up the gold and causes the layers to mix. Once the EDTA breaks down the hydrogel the mixture can easily be flushed out from the patient’s body.
The researchers say they were inspired by cocktails as they are made by layering different materials, before mixing it together on demand when it is stirred or heated up.
The team of researchers from Nanchang has tested the finding on rats. They kept the males from impregnating females for more than two months. The whole procedure hardly takes a few minutes to be reversed using a near-infrared lamp. After this, the animals were fertile enough to produce offsprings.
The research is in its development stages, though it has been tested on rats it does not guarantee it will work with humans as well. The researchers will need to ensure the materials and methods used will be safe for humans. This not the only drawback but there are other male contraceptives being developed which might be even simpler and safe.
There are other methods available which are less invasive like ultrasound pulses that kill sperm, while contraceptive pills and topical gels are already available and are presently in Phase 2 human trials. Certainly with so many options available the Cocktail Inspired male contraceptive will have to face some stiff competition.
If you wish to read the research in detail you can head over to journal ACS.
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