Male contraceptive study expands to 4 US cities

rtion and removal.

"It's a lot easier to pull the plugs out than to find the best, most expensive micro-surgeon to sew a vas deferens back together. So that's a plus for the IVD," said Lissner. "But we know that in a vasectomy, even if you can get sperm flowing again, the chances of a pregnancy go down about 10% for each year the man had the vasectomy. Only time will tell if it's the same for the IVD."

John, a 25-year-old in Rhode Island, doesn't mind the uncertainty about reversibility. "My fiance and I agree that we don't want children. I've thought about vasectomy, but somehow I haven't been able to talk myself into it yet. This [IVD] seems a little more high-tech. If it turns out to be more reversible than vasectomy, so much the better. I only wish it were available closer to home."

Men's attitudes

John's strong desire to participate in contraception is far from unique. Condoms and vasectomy together account for one quarter to one third of contraceptive use in many countries. And each year about 500,000 American men get vasectomies, even though the procedure is only appropriate for men who are finished having children.

Condoms, though very effective when used perfectly, are often misused and are unpopular with long-term monogamous couples. Recent studies have consistently shown that a majority of men would welcome a third contraceptive option.

"Men are looking for the same thing as women -- something reliable but without side effects," says Dr. Neil Pollock, a Vancouver doctor who does about 1600 vasectomies a year and is head of Shepherd Medical's scientific advisory board. "The more choices men and women have, the more chances that there will be something right for everybody."



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