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Are we seeing the beginning of the end of IUDs, diaphragms and hormonal-rollercoaster-inducing birth control pills? Maybe. A new method of birth control has proven effective on a group of 16 monkeys in a trial at The California National Primate Research Center.

The birth control, Vasalgel, takes the form of a gel that is injected into the vas deferens, two ducts that bring sperm from each testicle to the urethra. Similar to a vasectomy, Vasalgel blocks sperm from traveling out of the testes, and its success in this trial could mean that the burden of birth control no longer just falls to people with uteruses.

The adult rhesus monkeys were injected with Vasalgel, released back into their usual habitats with fertile females, and monitored for up to 2 years, during which time there would usually be an 80% pregnancy rate. However, the gel was 100% effective which marks a major breakthrough in the development of birth control for people with testes and penises.

It remains to be seen if this method will actually be reversible, and the next trials on monkeys will look into this. After that, the trials will focus on effectiveness in humans and could be available as early as 2018.


Top Photo via Flickr/Nate Grigg

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