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Surprising Science

Creating Equality When We Talk About Contraception

Men may finally be able to take control of their reproductive futures.

When it comes to birth control, women are spoiled for choice. There are pills we can take and patches we can put on, IUDs and diaphragm we can insert, and the options just keep on growing. But for men, the only reliable form of contraception is to either put on a condom or have a vasectomy.

“It’s absolutely vital that men have more contraceptive choices — to take more control over their reproductive futures, and because the responsibility has fallen disproportionately on women’s shoulders (and nether-regions) for too long,” feminist blogger, Jessica Valenti, wrote in an article for The Guardian.

Scientists may have the answer in the form of a birth control “switch.”

The Bimek SLV device is surgically implanted in the spermatic ducts. The switch can be felt through the skin where the man can allow the flow of sperm from his testicles to his penis or it can divert the flow, preventing the sperm cells from leaving the testicles. This would allow men to turn their fertility on and off.

However, this birth control solution has only been tested by Clemens Bimek, the device’s inventor. This has led some to question the Bimek SLV’s effectiveness and safety. Dr. Wolfgang Bühmann, a spokesman for the Society of German Urologists, said to The Daily Mail, “I believe that the implantation of this valve could lead to scar tissue building up in the seminal ducts.” This could lead to infertility issues.

Clinical trials are set to begin this year, at which time researchers will find out if this form of contraception has possibility. Developers are hoping to make the Bimek SLV market-ready by 2018.


Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

Photo Credit: LUIS ACOSTA / Getty Staff


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