Also known as contraceptive and
fertility control, is a method that individuals and couples adopt in order to
prevent pregnancy. It has been in use since ancient times but its importance
now is widely accepted and new, safe, effective and easy birth control options
are emerging out day by day.
BACKSTORY- Something that every invention and
love story has.
When it comes to human reproduction,
people say that men have it easy. They don’t get pregnant and carry the baby or
deliver it. But when it comes to preventing pregnancy, the tables turn. Women
have numerous contraceptive options available to them while men, face a greater
challenge. It’s easy to block one egg that is released every month but
difficult to block millions of sperms that is released during intercourse. For
men the available options are-
Ø Condoms- Can fail and to buy it every time and its
use and disposal is a problem especially in the rural conservative households.
Ø Vasectomy- It’s
a surgical procedure wherein the vas deferens is cut and sealed to block the
entry of the sperm into the urethra. It is shunned for emasculation and also
not everyone would want to undergo a surgery and that too a permanent one.
So, a male contraceptive that was more
reliable than condom and less adverse than vasectomy was needed.
Hope soon arrived in the form of a
method known as RISUG- REVERSIBLE INHIBITION
OF SPERM UNDER GUIDANCE. It is a
male contraceptive injection developed at IIT, Kharagpur in India by the team
of DR. Sujoy.K.Guha.
When asked why he wanted to develop a
“I wanted to be different” says DR.Guha.
FROM LAB TO LIFE
In the 1970s, he
began his work on cost-effective and simple techniques to purify rural water
systems. He discovered that if he coated pipes with a common polymer called styrene maleic anhydride, it could kill the
bacteria present in that pipe. The process was based on differential charge
existing on the polymer and the bacteria. Polymer being positively and bacteria
being negatively charged. Thus, the attractive forces can pull them apart.
Guha was well accustomed to the disadvantages
existing with the already available options of male contraceptives. Guha wondered if the same polymer could work for male
contraception. After all, as we can see the water pipe was analogous to the vas
deferens and the bacteria moving in it is analogous to sperm moving in the vas
he and his students developed RISUG.
Firstly, the doctor creates a small hole, big enough to
locate the vas deferens and then injects 70mg of the liquid that is SMA ( styrene maleic acid). After few
minutes the polymer solidifies and then clings on to the inner lining of vas
deferens giving it a net positive charge. The passage of sperm (negatively
charged) is not blocked as such but the conditions are such that the tails coil
up, cell membranes burst and its efficacy is lost. Thus, the semen that comes
out is a collection of sperms that are good for nothing and highly disabled.
gel lasts for about 8 to 10 years but it is easily reversible too as another
injection of sodium bicarbonate can easily dissolve the polymer. Thus, the person
can actually reverse the process as and when he wants.
feasibility and long-lasting sterility.
The phase I and phase II clinical trials were published in
1993 and 1997. An extended phase III clinical trial is ongoing.
Unfortunately, the advancement of this injectable polymer is slow. However, in February
2010, the Parsemus Foundation, licensed the rights to develop RISUG — as
Vasalgel — in the United States.
ITS NOT THE
Is he excited that the drug is nearly past clinical trials?
Or disheartened that it took this long? He offers a nugget of wisdom that he
inherited from his father: “One should never be happy or sad about anything.”