Would men endure a shot in the groin to prevent pregnancy? Indian researchers think so.
The Indian Council of Medical Research, a government-funded biomedical research agency, has successfully completed a clinical trial on an injectable male contraceptive, the Hindustan Times reported.
“The product is ready, with only regulatory approvals pending [from the government],” Dr. R.S. Sharma, senior scientist with ICMR, told the local news outlet. “The trials are over, including extended, Phase 3 clinical trials for which 303 candidates were recruited with a 97.3% success rate and no reported side effects. The product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive.”
The birth control method, which lasts approximately 13 years, involves injecting a polymer, called styrene maleic anhydride, into the vas deferens, effectively blocking sperm from leaving the testicles. The shot, preceded by a dose of local anesthesia, is designed to supplant a traditional vasectomy.
Researchers in the US have developed a similar contraceptive, called Vasalgel, which has not yet been brought to market. A male birth control pill also exists, though researchers anticipate it’ll be about 10 years before the drug makes it to market. Also, drugs such as these can only prevent pregnancy, and do not protect against STDs.
“The polymer was developed by Professor S.K. Guha from the Indian Institute of Technology in the 1970s. ICMR has been researching on it to turn it into a product for mass use since 1984, and the final product is ready after exhaustive trials,” said Sharma. Researchers call this reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance.
Drugs Controller General of India V.G. Somani said, because of pending regulatory approval, it “will still take about six to seven months … before the product can be manufactured,” they told Hindustan Times.
In the meantime, Vice asked several Indian men if they were open to the idea of a shot in the groin to prevent pregnancy. Many agreed that more options would be a boon for men and women, though many weren’t keen on needling their nether regions.
“When I think about this whole concept of contraception that you have to inject … it’s too graphic,” said 33-year-old Abhay. “Our [testicles] are like family jewels, so if I have to resort to using any kind of contraceptive, I’d rather go for a pill.”
Shreyes, 24, liked the idea of a male contraceptive because women are “already burdened enough,” but he thinks an injection may be too much for men, adding that he’d “rather not have sex at all” in that case.
“Men are not too used to making changes in their routine, so it has to be marketed in a way that doesn’t seem so intense or difficult,” he said.