Vasectomies aside, the onus of long-term birth control typically relies on females: IUDs, diaphragms, pills, and other methods that have some questionable side effects. A new male contraceptive promises a reversible, hormone-free, and lifelong solution that’s literally as easy as flipping a switch. That switch happens to be located in the scrotum, however, since the Bimek SLV aims to stop sperm right at the source. Read on for how this innovative form of male contraception works.
The whole process sounds pretty simple in comparison to many of the other contraceptive interventions currently on the market. During a thirty minute procedure by a urologist under local anesthesia, the spermatic ducts are lifted out and are cut open; the switch-off valve is connected to the opening of the spermatic ducts. After a short healing period (the surgery is outpatient), the patient can return to work in one day and to an active exercise and sex life within a week, although it takes three to six months of the device in the “off” position before no other form of contraception is needed. The device itself works a bit like an electrical current. Turn the switch (which is accessible through the skin of the scrotum, but is apparently otherwise unnoticeable) off and sperm are sent away from the penis, making impregnation impossible. Turn it back on (again by flipping the switch as well as pressing on a safety mechanism located on the valve) and the sperm can flow freely, restoring fertility.
Bimek SLV is made from a durable, anti-allergenic, and biologically compatible implant material that has been used for decades in other implant surgeries and is the size of a gummy bear. The cost of implanting the Bimek SLV could run between $5,000-$6,000 and will not likely be covered by any insurance policies, but, considering the monthly and yearly costs of typical female contraceptives, it’s not an unreasonable fee for a lifelong, reversible contraceptive option.
Inventor Clemens Bimek tested the Bimek SLV on himself after years of research, but the company is currently looking for participants for clinical trials so that the device can get clearance, hopefully by 2018. If you know a candidate for the procedure, he can sign up here and potentially play a role in male contraceptive history!