Gel-Based Alternative to Traditional Vasectomy in the Works

Vasalgel works by plugging the vas deferens
Vasalgel works by plugging the vas deferens

(HealthDay News) — A new gel-based vasectomy has proven effective in a group of monkeys, raising hopes it could one day provide a permanent but easily reversible male contraceptive option in humans, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in Basic and Clinical Andrology.

Vasalgel works by plugging the vas deferens, the researchers said. The gel "doesn't break down. It just sets up a little more, and sticks where you inject it," lead researcher Catherine VandeVoort, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology with the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, told HealthDay.

Sixteen male rhesus macaque monkeys injected with the non-hormonal gel have proven incapable of reproduction, according to the study findings. No females have become pregnant in the males' presence, even though they were housed together for at least one breeding season -- about six months. The team also found few complications, which were similar to those associated with traditional vasectomy.

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"Vasalgel placement within the vas deferens seems to be an effective method for contraception in adult male rhesus macaques living in social group settings. Additionally, the presence of Vasalgel appears to be well tolerated and placement resulted in minimal complications," the authors write. "Further study, including the possibility of reversal by flushing the gel from the vasa deferentia in this species, is warranted."

The Parsemus Foundation, based in Berkeley, Calif., holds patents on Vasalgel and funded the study.

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