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Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine are closer to creating a male contraceptive. They released a report on Biology of Reproduction.
John Herr, PhD, in the Department of Cell Biologysays, “This report expands our fundamental understanding of the molecular architecture at the site of sperm-egg fusion.”
In the report, the researchers state they have discovered a protein, equatorial segment protein 1 (ESP1) in the sperm cell. ESP1 is what helps the sperm break into the egg during fertilisation. It stays intact after acrosome reaction, unlike other proteins. Acrosome reaction occurs just before the sperm-egg fusion. The detailed understanding of this process and the reasoning behind it will help them create new forms of birth control that “disrupt or block the fertilization event.”
According to Herr, the next step would be to find out what happens with the sugar molecule associated with ESP1. They are trying to find out why ESP1 stays intact. They need to investigate other proteins interacting ESP1.
Even closer in the future is Vasalgel. This male contraceptive is a polymer that is injected into the vas deferens, the passage which transports sperm from the epididymis to the ejaculatory duct. And unlike a vasectomy, is a reversible process. Vasalgel is this in the clinical testing stage but according to Medical Daily it may be on the market by as soon as 2017.
As amazing as these contraceptives will be, they will only prevent pregnancy. STIs are still real and lurking. So to be safe, stick with a condom.