Because of strong initial interest, a new male contraceptive will now be available at three additional study sites. "We haven't even opened our doors yet, and men are already contacting us," said Janelle Antil, clinical trials coordinator for Shepherd Medical Company. "We figured it was a pretty good sign, so we decided to take a chance on expanding."
The manufacturer is designing a new male contraceptive dubbed the IVD (Intra Vas Device). The original St. Paul, Minnesota site will begin accepting patients on Monday October 16, and enrollment will begin by the end of October at new sites in St. Cloud, Minnesota; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Tampa, Florida.
The IVD is a long-term contraceptive designed as an alternative to vasectomy. The new device aims to block sperm by plugging the tube they travel through (called the vas deferens) on the way to joining with the rest of the semen. In a vasectomy, that tube is simply cut. Neither solution interferes with libido or masculinity, but researchers hope men will find the plug idea more appealing.
"Somehow psychologically, it's a little easier to think about something being added than something being cut," said Elaine Lissner, director of the nonprofit Male Contraception Information Project based in San Francisco. "They put in two tiny, soft silicone plugs per side, and any sperm that make it past the first plug are stopped by the second. It's not rocket science, but it seems to do the job."
The current study is the second one to research IVD use in men. In the pilot study, the new contraceptive was very effective: All 30 men either had no sperm in their semen or had levels too low to cause a pregnancy.
Reversibility still unknown
Lissner stressed that right now the method is only for men who are finished having children. Early studies in monkeys showed reversibility after seven months of use, but reversibility studies in men have only tested same-day inse