If I were going to design a method of contraception, I would insist on the following:
- No complicated daily regimen;
- Infinitesimal failure rate;
- No massive hormonal adjustments;
- Effectiveness for a duration of years rather than hours;
- No TV commercials reeking of imputed fertility.
Such a method, of course, already exists, and has for some time; it is not popular, however, because (1) it gets no television promotion and (2) men resist the idea of blades in the general vicinity of The Boys. Besides, it’s more or less permanent, and people do change their minds, so someone has come up with Vasectomy 2: Non-Surgical Boogaloo, which goes like this:
A doctor applies some local anesthetic, makes a small pinhole in the base of the scrotum, reaches in with a pair of very thin forceps, and pulls out the small white vas deferens tube. Then, the doctor injects the polymer gel (called Vasalgel here in the US), pushes the vas deferens back inside, repeats the process for the other vas deferens, puts a Band-Aid over the small hole, and the man is on his way.
This gel, incidentally, doesn’t do what you think it does:
The two common chemicals styrene maleic anhydride and dimethyl sulfoxide form a polymer that thickens over the next 72 hours, much like a pliable epoxy, but the purpose of these chemicals isn’t to harden and block the vas deferens. Instead, the polymer lines the wall of the vas deferens and allows sperm to flow freely down the middle (this prevents any pressure buildup), and because of the polymer’s pattern of negative/positive polarization, the sperm are torn apart through the polyelectrolytic effect [pdf]. On a molecular level, it’s what supervillains envision will happen when they stick the good guy between two huge magnets and flip the switch.
“No, Mr. Sperm, I expect you to die!”
Apparently there is no upgrade path from the, um, earlier version, which is just as well as far as I’m concerned.
(Via two hawt neighborhood women, both of who are spoken for, so don’t assume anything.)