An injectable hydrogel for non-permanent male contraception


Spotted: A 2020 academic review of male contraceptives found that despite high levels of interest from both men and women, lack of investment from pharmaceutical companies was hindering the development of non-surgical, reversible options. The researchers concluded that “availability of male contraceptives could have an important impact on decreasing global unintended pregnancy rates (currently 40 per cent of all pregnancies).”

Virginia biotech company Contraline has created a solution. Called ADAM, the injectable hydrogel provides long-lasting contraception for men, similar to the way an intrauterine device (IUD) works for women. With most couples globally relying on female contraceptive options, a male version would provide millions of women an alternative to disruptive hormone-based pills and painful implants.

The gel is injected into the vas deferens where it blocks the travel of sperm. The blocked sperm naturally degrades, as does the hydrogel at the end of its effective lifespan.

As women do now, men using the hydrogel would schedule regular checkups and top-up injections of the gel. Researchers anticipate the procedure taking no more than 30 minutes and requiring nothing more than a local anaesthetic. The trial in Australia is currently recruiting additional participants, and the Contraline team is planning to expand the clinical trials to other countries, including the USA in 2023. Contraline recently closed a funding round of more than $7 million which the company plans to use to fund extra trials.

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Written By Keely Khoury

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