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11 Jan, 2016 01:17

Revolutionary male birth control easy as flipping a switch

Revolutionary male birth control easy as flipping a switch

German carpenter Clemens Bimek has crafted a male contraception “switch” – a valve that can stop, or start, the flow of sperm. The revolutionary invention, if approved, could change men’s reproductive future, turning a permanent vasectomy into a relic of history.

The one-inch-long valve weighs less than a tenth of an ounce and could be surgically implanted under the skin of the scrotum during a 30 minute operation.

When closed, the valve prevents the flow of sperm from entering semen and the man is rendered sterile – although he can still ejaculate as normal.

If the man at any point decides he wants to father children, he simply changes the switch by pressing it through the skin of his scrotum and his is immediately capable of procreation.

“Many of the doctors I consulted didn’t take me seriously. But there were some who encouraged me to go on tinkering and helping me with their expertise", said Bimek to German magazine, Der Spiegel.

Bimek, who is so far the only person to have had the device called Bimek SLV inserted, believes the revolutionary contraception could finally pass the “the burden of birth control” onto men.

The urologist that performed the surgery, Hartwig Bauer, says the device can replace vasectomies that he claims a third of patients later want to have reversed but “it doesn’t always work”.

Although, of course with any new product, it has some defects. Wolfgang Buhmann, spokesman for the Professional Association of German Urologists said scarring from the switch could prevent the flow of sperm even after the valve is opened.

“My assessment is that implanting the valve could cause scarring where it meets the vas deferens."

The device is due to be implanted in 25 men when the first medical trials begin later this year and, if approved, is expected to launch to the general public no earlier than 2018.