The world’s first male contraceptive injection has just edged a lot closer.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has successfully completed clinical trials of the world’s first injectable male contraceptive, according to The Hindustan Times. It’s now awaiting approval by the Indian drug administration, but if it gets the green light, it could be manufactured at some point in the next six to seven months.
“The product is ready, with only regulatory approvals pending with the Drugs Controller. The trials are over, including extended, phase 3 clinical trials for which 303 candidates were recruited with 97.3 percent success rate and no reported side-effects,” Dr RS Sharma, a senior scientist with ICMR who led the trials, told The Hindustan.
“The product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive,” they added.
The product – called reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG) – reportedly lasts for up to 13 years and is designed to work as an alternative to a surgical vasectomy.
After receiving a local anesthetic, the polymer is injected directly into the vas deferens, the little tubes on the outside of the testicle that transport sperm to the ejaculatory ducts and towards the penis before “the big moment”.
While the idea of an injection into the scrotum might not sound too pleasant, the researchers are hopeful that RISUG will eventually become more popular than a vasectomy.
Indian scientists have been working away at making RISUG a reality as far back as the 1970s. Although the early trials showed that RISUG was an effective and affordable means of contraception, there have been numerous setbacks and slow progress in terms of bringing it to market.
In India and beyond, the promise of an effective male contraceptive has been talked about for decades, but the science has come up against a number of hurdles. Nevertheless, the tides are starting to turn with an increasing number of projects looking to provide men with the option of easy and reversible contraception.
One promising project is actually a gel that’s rubbed onto the shoulders each morning. The gel effectively "tricks" the body into thinking it's making enough sperm by promoting high levels of progesterone, thereby causing sperm production to cease.
Despite what people might say in online comment sections, many guys would like to see a male contraceptive. A YouGov poll this year found that around a third of British men would be willing to have a male contraceptive. That figure rose to 40 percent among 25-49-year-olds. Attitudes are bound to vary hugely between cultures, but it appears the demand is out there.