Contraceptive "gold" for men?

Originally Published: August 21, 2009
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Alice,

I recall a test being done at the University of Wisconsin (may be wrong about which University) where gold valve implants were being tested as a reversible vasectomy. What were the results? Any further progress in that method?

Dear reader,

Imagine if a man could release his swimmers or keep them in the starting line with the flick of switch. Sound too good be true? It is! For now, vasectomy remains a permanent "off" switch that is difficult to turn back on.

In the early 1970s surgeons experimented with different reversible vasectomy techniques using temporary stitches, magnetic valves, removable plugs, and the infamous gold valves you mentioned — all with failed results. To date, research into new means of pregnancy prevention for male users still trails behind the development of female methods.

For now, men's contraceptive options are limited to vasectomy, good ol' condoms, and pulling-out (not the most reliable method, but a viable back-up that's always on hand). For more information about male contraceptives, including new male contraceptive methods in development, check out the related Q&As posted below.

Alice