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IVD - New Competitor to Vasectomy

If you want to see our future society – give a glimpse to nowadays teens. Sexual activity among teens rises each year. 98% of the most sexually active ones use at least one form of birth control. Unfortunately it doesn’t change the fact that one in three young women will become pregnant before age 20. It is still not likely a usual habit for a girl to have a condom or other contraception device in her bag, and it is both for boys and girls if they show up with a condom, that shows they planned for it and wanted it - rather embarrassing. Now scientists are working first of all for our future generation discovering new methods of contraception, though some of the methods are already in use in their phases of trials. 

Intra Vas Device (IVD) was invented by an American university professor Lourens Zaneveld. A group of no-scalpel vasectomy experts and biotech innovators formed Shepherd Medical Company that after the 1990s acquired pattern rights to develop the IVD.

What is IVD? It’s a non-hormonal contraceptive, a set of tiny, flexible, hollow silicone implants – plugs - that is inserted into the vas deferens tubes to block sperm transport.

After several design and manufacturing improvements, constant researches and testing (silicone has been tested for flexibility and tensile strength) and improving the delivery of the IVD (appropriate sterilization and package integrity) Shepherd Medical are seeking 90 participants for the clinical trial. The only thing that remains is to test the effectiveness as a contraceptive. They predict (and hope for) US, Canadian, European approval by 2010 of the method with the combined cost of $1,000 approximately (the device plus the insertion procedure).

IVD has some similarities in functioning with a vasectomy, though vasa deferentia are left intact. The device is inserted in the same vas with a small space between two silicone plugs, can not be felt once implanted and can not be moved. The plugs initially block the sperm. If the sperm pass around one plug – the second one blocks them. Seems to be very promising.

The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes under local anesthetic, the vas sizing and insertion tools have been already tested in 74 men who wanted a vasectomy. After the procedure you need to wait up to 3 months to confirm the effectiveness of absolute sperm blockage. In pilot studies contraceptive effect is achieved within 2-3 months.

In a 1999 study IVD gave the contraceptive effect to 90% of participants (27 from 30 men). Much better results are expected after the trial of 90 men (IVD to each man’s vas size).

Side effects are local infection (1%), swelling and tenderness of the epididymis / testes (3-5%), formation of granulomas (0.02%). The first one is common for all surgical procedures, the second one resolves in its own few days after.

How long does it take to reverse? The success of reversal is much affected by the time elapsed since insertion. After vasovasostomy (vasectomy has much in common with IVD) if held in the first year after vasectomy the couple could conceive the child in 50% of cases. Each additional year of vasectomy as a contraceptive reduce these chances to 10 points after reversal. The IVD gives more promising results. Monkeys returned their pre-IVD state in one month.

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How much does it take to reverse? Hm…In case of vasovasostomy - $5,000 - $12,000 plus several hours for microsurgery. If IVD - less than $1,000 – fast and easy.

Maybe for our kids there will be thousand of options of both male and women contraception. It will be safe, fast and easy, side effects less and easy to reverse. Every other method is an open door to the world of more freedom in planning your sexual life and birth control for men and women. Perhaps a method that will replace sexual relationships will be someday invented. Some kind of pill instead of sex. Take it and snap - have your orgazm. If only we would be not so much fond of having sex as a pleasurable process...

Valentyna Ant.

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