Promising Development In Reversible Male Birth Control

Twenty years ago Clemens Bimek, a German carpenter, became intrigued with the possibility of preventing conception by impeding the flow of sperm with an on/off switch attached inside a man's body to the vas deferens. Such an approach in theory would mechanically stop sperm from ejaculating during sex when the valve closed the ducts in a way similar to a surgical vasectomy. In contrast to a traditional vasectomy, however, the valves envisioned could be opened again. Herr Bimek's concept now realized in the Bimek SLV, the new male contraceptive that controls sperm at the direction of the man within whom it is implanted.

A Clinical Guide for Contraception

Closing the ducts that run from the testicles, the incubator for sperm, through the pelvic area to the urethra has been the primary method to avoid impregnation that does not rely upon a barrier method and that takes female contraceptive efforts out of the equation. For many years only the permanent solution of vasectomy or the use of a condom were options for a man who wanted to take personal responsibility to prevent pregnancy.

Condoms are a temporary and not always reliable solution that permits a man to decide prior to each sexual act whether to try to prevent pregnancy. Using this barrier method does give a man the freedom to choose when he limits the possibility of pregnancy but it has a failure rate that makes it unappealing. A vasectomy is solid choice to prevent pregnancy but must be considered permanent as it severs and ties off the ducts carrying the sperm, making it unacceptable for the individual who may want to become a parent at a later time.

The Bimek SLV is a unique and new male contraceptive that controls sperm ejaculation when implanted on the vas deferens and switched to the off position. Made of the same type of materials used for other bodily implants the roughly inch long valves are attached to the two vas deferens above the testicles. Pushing a swivel switch closed compresses the duct so that the sperm does not travel to the urethra to be ejaculated during orgasm. Engaging a safety button while pushing the switch to the open position allows the sperm to make its way through the urethra and potentially impregnate the man's partner.

Currently in search of test subjects, the makers of the this male contraceptive valve are looking to demonstrate this option as a viable one for the man who want the flexibility to decide when he wants to be fertile. Urologists who have embraced the idea of the technology are eager to see if it will offer the true reversibility sought. As up to a third of the men who have vasectomies return to have the operation reversed with mixed results it is clear the desire is there for a simple implanted switch that gives a choice with each sex act safely and effectively.

Only time will tell whether the Bimek SLV will be the male contraceptive that controls rather than eliminates the possibility of viable sperm reaching the egg and creating a pregnancy. Concerns about scarring or clogging during use will be confirmed or put to rest during clinical testing, determining the value of this innovative take on male birth control. If it works as hoped it may provide a real revolution in men's birth control choices.

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