Sounds incredible? Well, you are right. However, the new male birth control method – inspired by a cocktail, called Galaxy – has already been successfully tested in two groups of rats.
Let’s take a closer look at what this new “miracle method” is:
Galaxy cocktail is a colorful layered drink which blends into a uniform liquid when stirred or heated. Chinese scientists from Nanchang University decided to try to make similar use of liquid layers to develop a reversible type of contraception.
They developed a serum of two key elements has to be injected into the vas deferens, more commonly known as sperm duct. These are the hydrogel and EDTA (a chemical that breaks down the hydrogel and kills sperm), separated by a layer of gold nanoparticles.
“The key point is the transformation of the serum”, said Wang, the lead scientist of the project. Firstly it has to be a liquid so we can inject it into the sperm duct, but then it should be transformed into a kind of gel, to stay inside and block the sperm.
And how is it possible to clean the block? Easy. Near-infrared light has to be applied to the skin outside the vas deferens, which heats up the gold particles, they melt into the denser gel and dissolves it. According to the results, after the light treatment, the rats regained their ability to father pups within 7-14 days, depending on the dose they got.
However, scientists don’t know exactly yet how long contraceptive efficacy can last if they don’t try to dissolve with infrared light. One group of male rats that never received light treatment were unable to impregnate females for more than two months.
The successful pilot project is expected to be followed by further tests on larger mammals. If the results will be satisfying, they can start testing on humans.