A German inventor may have finally cracked the perfect form of male contraception.
The Daily Mail report Clemens Bimek has invented a ‘spermatic duct valve’, which he says has the potential to ‘change the world’ by offering a contraceptive that is as effective as a vasectomy without the downside of it being permanent.
The valve works by stopping sperm from reaching the penis. The device is implanted internally, and is designed to divert the flow of sperm back to the man’s testicles, making him temporarily infertile.
If later on the user decides he wants kids all he needs to do is find the implant in his balls and flick the switch back, allowing sperm to be ejaculated.
So far Mr Bimek is the only one to use the device but he’s hoping to fund further trials with 25 other men early this year.
The implant, which is 1.8cm long and weighs 2 grams, takes about half an hour to be surgically inserted while the patient is under local anaesthetic.
The valve is implanted in the spermatic ducts with a rocker switch, which users can easily find through the thin skin of the scrotum and turn on and off.
The direction of the switch is simple to remember, to open the valve all you do is push the switch towards your abdomen. Once implanted the device, called the Bimek SLV, will work forever, Bimek claims.
According to the device’s website, in its closed state the valve prevents sperm cells from leaving the testicles and mixing with the semen before ejaculate.
But the makers warn it will take between three and six months for men to get rid of any lingering sperm cells, so users will be stuck wearing ‘johnnys’ for a while after surgery. Switching it back the other way should give immediate results because men never stop producing sperm cells.
Experts are divided over its potential effectiveness. Dr Wolfgang Bühmann, spokesman for the Society of German Urologists, said the valve could have negative side effects.
I believe that the implantation of this valve could lead to scar tissue building up in the seminal ducts.
He was also worried that sperm could stick to the valve which could lead to it clogging up the switch mechanism over time.
However, urologist Hartwig Bauer told Der Spiegel it was far more flexible than vasectomies.
A third of all patients would like to have such operations reversed at a later date. But it doesn’t always work.
As interesting as this is, surgery seems a bit extreme – think I might just stick to condoms.