Attention world: A male version of the Pill is in the works.
Correction: Multiple male versions of the Pill are in the works.
Two hormone-free options are already up for clinical trials. Gendarussa, an herbal male contraceptive, works by preventing sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. Two rounds of human trials in Indonesia have turned up zero side effects so far. Eppin, created in the US, stops sperm from swimming towards eggs. No testing has begun yet.
There’s other variations of male contraceptives out there too. Perhaps the most talked about is Vasalgel, a hormone-free injectable. Here’s how it works: A polymer gel is injected into a man’s sperm-carrying tubes — called the vas deferens — accessible through the scrotum (yes, a local anesthetic is used too). It lasts for years, and like a vasectomy, it blocks the flow of sperm through semen. But unlike a vasectomy, it’s touted to be easily reversible; another injection dissolves the polymer.
Vasalgel’s parent company, The Parsemus Foundation, says the first clinical trials should occur within the year, and the product could hit the market between 2018 and 2020.
Does this mean the end of the condom? No way. Its barrier method is still important for preventing STD transmission. But these new male birth control options send an important message: family planning falls on the shoulders of both women and men.
Wondering which birth control methods are available to you? Check out nine of the most popular methods here.