German Graduate Invents Male Contraceptive, Wins Dyson Award
Rebecca Weiss, an industrial design graduate, has invented a revolutionary device. Her invention is a form of contraception for men, which is ultrasound-based, reversible, and hormone-free. This innovation may be the solution for a long-lasting, risk-free male contraceptive. Currently, men have two birth control options, condoms and vasectomy. Condoms help prevent venereal diseases, but they are unpleasant for most partners in the long run. Vasectomy is the safest way for pregnancy prevention, but it’s permanent and can’t be reversed.
According to the Dyson Awards website, Weiss said she started investigating contraceptive methods for men after she got worrying results from a gynecological exam. Test results showed precursor cancer cells on her cervix. Oral contraceptives aren’t the best solution when there are suspicious cancer cells involved since they contain a combination of the female hormones estrogen and progestin. This prompted Weiss to look for other options.
Her revolutionary device Coso is a small cup that temporarily stops sperm regeneration by using ultrasound waves. The user puts water into the cup, which is heated up to operating temperature. After Coso is ready for ultrasound treatment, the user places his testicles in the device. The ultrasound waves target the sperm cells for a few minutes. This device has been tested on animals but has not yet been tested on humans.
At the Technical University in Munich, Weiss examined the contraceptive approach for men in the course of her master thesis. To launch her innovation, she hopes she will get the necessary financial and academic support.
In the past, contraceptives for men have been abandoned due to various reasons. Pills have been rejected because they triggered migraines, even though birth control pills for women contain hormones that can lead to similar migraines along with depression, mood changes, blood coagulation, breast swelling, and stroke. Female contraceptive pills are still in use, mainly because many still believe that contraception is women’s responsibility. Nevertheless, stable couples want to have equal responsibilities.
Coso won the international design award, James Dyson, which encourages young designers to create innovations. Ultimately, only time will tell if this revolutionary device could improve contraceptive methods in the future.
Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash