It's a toxic slip-n-slide for your jism!

The Best Birth Control In The World Is For Men

A doctor applies some local anesthetic, makes a small pinhole in the base of the scrotum, reaches in with a pair of very thin forceps, and pulls out the small white vas deferens tube. Then, the doctor injects the polymer gel, pushes the vas deferens back inside, repeats the process for the other vas deferens, puts a Band-Aid over the small hole, and the man is on his way. If this all sounds incredibly simple and inexpensive, that's because it is. The chemicals themselves cost less than the syringe used to administer them. But the science of what happens next is the really fascinating part.

The two common chemicals -- styrene maleic anhydride and dimethyl sulfoxide -- form a polymer that thickens over the next 72 hours, much like a pliable epoxy, but the purpose of these chemicals isn't to harden and block the vas deferens. Instead, the polymer lines the wall of the vas deferens and allows sperm to flow freely down the middle (this prevents any pressure buildup), and because of the polymer's pattern of negative/positive polarization, the sperm are torn apart through the polyelectrolytic effect. On a molecular level, it's what supervillains envision will happen when they stick the good guy between two huge magnets and flip the switch.

With one little injection, this non-toxic jelly will sit there for 10+ years without you having to do anything else to not have babies. Set it and forget it. Oh, and when you do decide you want those babies, it only takes one other injection of water and baking soda to flush out the gel, and within two to three months, you've got all your healthy sperm again.

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18 Responses:

  1. nightbird says:

    Awesome. I'd pay for that.

  2. Jay says:

    Makes me nervous that it would not be 100% effective. Only one sperm needs to make it through intact. Just bite the bullet and get 'em cut, doesn't hurt and the drugs you get are super awesome.

    • Lun Esex says:

      Vasectomies are not easily reversed, and it is expensive and only moderately reliable. This is apparently cheap and easy to reverse, though the effectiveness of the reversal is yet to be determined. Some men/couples may find this much more attractive and make it a lot more popular.

      It's also less of a big decision to do something like this in the first place if it can be easily reversed. The counseling or other advice suggested for men thinking of getting a vasectomy would probably be reduced to something along the lines of "So, you sure?" "Yep." "Ok, we can fit you in today. How's 3:00 sound?"

      The christian right will probably go bugfuck about it, though, in the same way they have about the HPV vaccine for girls. "Oh no, at least a vasectomy requires a big life changing decision. This, this is too easy and cheap, and since it's reversible men won't even think twice about getting it done. This will surely lead to an increased degradation of society's morals as it frees people to have even more sex with fewer consequences!"

      On the other hand, since the HPV vaccine is for women and this is for men, there's less of a patriarchal "must... have... control... over... women's... bodies..." trigger for those fundamentalists.

      • Vasectomies are...only moderately reliable.

        Er. What? Say what?

        Vasesctomies are not 100% -- no method of birth control other than permanent abstinence is -- but they're still basically tied with tubal ligation for "best". We don't have much longitudinal data for RISUG yet, but I'll honestly be very surprised if it manages to do substantially better than vasectomy.

        Also, not sure what you mean by "expensive": vasectomies are an outpatient procedure, usually covered by insurance. If you don't have insurance, it's generally available for in the neighborhood of $500. ("Average" costs are a little hard to come by, but planned parenthood's website says "$350-1000".) Obviously for some people even $350 is a non-trivial amount of money, but it compares pretty well to 5 years of condoms or hormonal birth control, and it's unclear that RISUG would be any cheaper in the states.

        ...which is not to say that it's not great that we might finally be getting another option for birth control! It is great! But RISUG's main improvement on vasectomy is its reversibility.

      • phuzz says:

        Expensive? How can a basic medical procedure cost any....oh, you live in the US don't you, hard luck mate.

    • Enid says:

      Additional article with references, human studies, etc.

      "When RISUG was properly implanted, no pregnancies occurred during the 1-3 years of the study (Guha 1997), and informal follow ups with the volunteers have confirmed no pregnancies since."

    • Ben says:

      Friends of mine who have gotten vasectomies have said it was one of the most painful surgeries they'd ever had.

      • skreidle says:

        I heard a radio ad for "Vasectomy Madness" a couple weeks ago -- the gist being, "Men, want to get your wife's blessing to sit and watch March Madness for several days straight? Schedule a vasectomy, and sit on the couch catching all the games!"

      • gronk says:

        The surgery can be painless; I didn't feel a thing. However, it can take months before you don't feel it anymore during sex (kind of a painfull, pulling sensation in your balls which you notice during sex/before orgasm).

      • Ed Marshall says:

        I have a friend who experienced one of the "complications" of a vasectomy. (PVPS)

        Go in for elective surgery, suffer from debilitating groin pain for years afterward.

        Fuck. That. Shit.

  3. A “noninvasive” reversal is also possible (Lohiya 2005). However, many men may consider this reversal method more invasive than an injection, since it involves a combination of vibration, a low electric current, and per rectal massage to dislodge the polymer and move it through the vas deferens.

    It sounds like they give you, medically, a huge orgasm. You blow all the gel out and you're never the same afterwards?

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