Sperm
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Sperm: damming the flood

By Steve Korver Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 14:25
Artificial sperm: a man-free world? … Male birth control could change everything … Stop that sperm! … These news flashes and more in this week’s Sex in the Press.

A man-free world?

Sperm. Men can hose out the stuff thanks to their ability to produce 1,500 of these one-celled wigglers per second.

But now in China: “Scientists have managed to create an artificial version of sperm in the laboratory from skin cells and used it to create healthy baby mice,” according to ‘Now we can make sperm, is this the end of men?’.

So is it truly the end of men?

Well, no. While artificial sperm may soon be produced to help infertile men have families, it does not mean that this sperm will only produce daughters.

But it may mean that men should play nice if they want to stay directly relevant to the reproductive cycle.

Stopping the sea of sperm

One way to play nice is for men to take more responsibility for birth control.

“Vasalgel, a reversible form of male birth control, just took one step closer to your vas deferens,” according to ‘Male birth control, without condoms, will be here by 2017’.

“Rather than cutting the vas deferens – as would be done in a vasectomy – a Vasalgel procedure involves the injection of a polymer contraceptive directly into the vas deferens. This polymer will then block any sperm that attempt to pass through the tube. At any point, however, the polymer can be flushed out with a second injection if a man wishes to bring his sperm back up to speed.”

Animal tests have been amazingly successful: “Three lucky male baboons were injected with Vasalgel and given unrestricted sexual access to 10 to 15 female baboons each. Despite the fact that they have been monkeying around for six months now, no female baboons have been impregnated.”

Being cheap and one-off, this Indian invention sounds perfect. If implemented on a global scale, Vasalgel could also be a game-changer for women’s health.

“Ever since men started wrapping animal intestines around their penises hundreds of years ago, we have been approaching birth control as a way of temporarily preventing fertilization inside a woman’s body.”

And unfortunately: “It would take a commercial announcer a full minute of speed-reading to list off all the risks of every form of female birth control. Interrupting ovulation and fertilisation is a complex process that requires a degree of hormonal regulation, often impacting other areas of a woman’s health.”

But now Vasalgel can block sperm at the source. “Like the Little Dutch Boy walking by a dike on the brink of bursting, Vasalgel can simply plug up the vas deferens and stop an entire sea of sperm from crashing through.”

Everybody wins.

Scrotal switch

As much as Vasalgel makes sense, a similar approach does not: ‘German man invents male birth control that can literally be turned off and on’.

“During a half-hour operation, tiny valves are implanted in the vas deferens and controlled by a switch that is easily accessed by hand through the scrotum skin.”

The switch is described as being “as small as a gummy bear”.

Many urologists are questioning the safety of such a “spermatic duct valve” since it may cause scarring and result in a permanently clogged vas deferens.

“So far, the only person who has tried the device is [the inventor] himself. Under local anaesthetic, he was able to guide the surgeon during his own operation, which proved to be successful.”

But yes, who would want this dude’s sperm anyway?

 

What do you think about male birth control? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook. If you have any questions, visit our discussion board.

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