Researchers in India may have found the El Dorado of contraceptives: a method of male birth control that moves beyond condoms or vasectomies. Called reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance, or RISUG, the procedure involves injecting a nontoxic polymer that renders sperm incapable of fertilizing an egg. It's an idea that researchers have been studying for years. Beyond the obvious benefits of preventing pregnancy and being reversible, RISUG also allows men to avoid some of the problems associated with vasectomies.
So, how does this procedure go down? I warn the squeamish of you to tread lightly on this description of one man's experience from Wired:
When his turn came, he lay down on the table, and an orderly draped his lower body with a green surgical cloth that covered everything but his scrotum. Then Das moved in with a needle containing a local anesthetic. Once the drug had taken effect, Das gathered a fold of skin, made a puncture, and reached into the scrotum with a fine pair of forceps. He extracted a white tube: the vas deferens, which sperm travel through from the testes to the penis. In a normal vasectomy, Das would have severed the vas, cauterized and tied up the ends, and tucked it all back inside. But rather than snipping, Das took another syringe, delicately slid the needle lengthwise into the vas, and slowly depressed the plunger, injecting a clear, viscous liquid. He then repeated the steps on the other side of the scrotum.
So, okay, not as simple as taking a pill, but also a one-time thing that you won't ever forget to do. Now, I'll admit that my first thought upon reading this was, "So… you want me to just let you put some random chemical in my junk?" (Well, no. My first thought was, "Thank God I don't have to deal with this pregnancy stuff.")
But, the obvious counter-point to that reaction is that women have been putting chemicals and devices and whatnot into their bodies for decades, but have taken it like champs (even when some forms of birth control can make you sick) in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It sure seems like — once the research pans out and it appears safe — men can start doing the same. That way, no surprise babies for anyone!