SHARE

Plugs

How it works
Surgeons implant tiny plugs into the vas deferens (the central sperm pipe) that block swimmers and force the body to reabsorb them.
Advantages
Proven materialsa€”the plugs are made of the same silicone as artificial joints. The procedure would work like a vasectomy but would be easier to reverse.
Status
In March, the Shepherd Medical Company finalized results from an 82-man trial, evaluating the plug’s efficacy and safety. A broader test of hundreds of men is next.
Uh-oh factor
The main risk is bungled surgery. On occasion, doctors have placed the device next to, rather than inside, the vas deferens.

Drano

How it works
During a 15-minute procedure, a doctor injects a gel into the vas deferens that alters the pH of sperm-cell membranes and dissolves them on their way out.
Advantages
Flushing the gel out with a baking-soda solution reverses the process. Initial studies suggest that the gel can otherwise last more than 10 years.
Status
The Indian government is funding a long-term, 500-man study of the gel’s efficacy and safety this year. Stateside, researchers plan to begin safety studies in rabbits.
Uh-oh factor
One initial side effect is uncomfortable swelling that can last a couple weeks.

Ultrasound

How it works
A doctor applies ultrasound to the testes for 10 minutes. The heat scrambles the sperm-making process for about six months.
Advantages
Contraception could become a twice-yearly checkup procedure, like going to the dentist.
Status
A nine-month trial on rats, conducted by U.S. scientists, began in April. New studies will focus on whether the procedure is reversible and safe.
Uh-oh factor
It’s unclear how long the effects will last from patient to patient.

MORE TO READ