A new sperm-blocking gel injection is being trialled in Melbourne, in what researchers believe to be a “game changer” for male contraception.
The temporary procedure involves implanting a non-hormonal agent into the sperm ducts, blocking sperm from travelling to the testes before dissolving completely after two years. 25 Melbournians will undergo the 10-minute procedure, during what’s been described as a world-first trial of the world’s first injectable male contraception.
Speaking of the procedure, which has been dubbed as a temporary vasectomy, researchers at Epworth Freemasons in Melbourne said that if successful, the trial could mark a “game changer” in sharing the responsibility of contraception for heterosexual couples. “In this instance, men would be in control of their own contraception,” urologist Nathan Lawrentschuk said of the sperm-blocking gel.
He continued: “[Men] can enter into the fray which is often placed on their partner.” Lawrentschuk went on to reveal that the research team has been overwhelmed by requests to join the trial, which has so far been administered via a quick injection to four of the 25 Victorian participants. The trial is expected to conclude by June 30, 2025. In response to the procedure, medical researcher Liza O’Donnell said the gel injection offers a more reversible option than a vasectomy.
The gel marks just one of the male contraceptive options currently being researched in Australia, where the most popular form of men’s contraception remains either a condom or a vasectomy. Scientists at Monash University are currently developing a hormone-free male contraceptive pill, similar to that taken by women, while Chinese researchers trialled (on mice), the injection of magnetic nanomaterials to halt sperm production in 2021.
Elsewhere in game-changing sexual health news, South Australia criminalised the act of ‘stealthing’ earlier this month. The state joined the likes of ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and NSW in outlawing the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex, making the practice punishable by life imprisonment.