Roughly half of all pregnancies worldwide aren’t planned. We can attribute this, at least partially, to the fact that half the species (ahem, women) bears most of the birth control burden. If men had access to a long-lasting contraception, researchers have projected, the rate of unplanned pregnancies would tumble.

Now, Indian scientists claim they are getting closer to giving men such an option. Officials at the Indian Council of Medical Research say they’ve successfully completed clinical testing of the world’s first injectable male contraceptive, the Hindustan Times reported.

“The product is ready, with only regulatory approvals pending with [India’s drug regulator],” Radhey Shyam Sharma, a New Delhi reproductive biologist who leads the research, told the newspaper. “The product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive.”
此项研究负责人新德里生殖生物学家Radhey Shyam Sharma对该报纸说:“一切就绪,就等‘印度药品监管机构’的监管批准了。我们大可称它为全球首个男性避孕药。”

If that were true, it would mean India has found one of the holy grails of reproductive medicine — overcoming the biological and regulatory challenges that have thwarted past attempts to bring a new male birth control to market. (For more on those, and other promising male birth control options, see here.)

The product is a nonsurgical vasectomy called RISUG, which stands for “reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance,” and it’s effectively an injection behind men’s penises. If that sounds like something no man would ever agree to, let me explain.

With RISUG, doctors inject a polymer gel into the vas deferens, the tube that transports mature sperm to the urethra during ejaculation, under local anesthesia. The procedure is intended to block sperm, and therefore, the chances that a man impregnates a woman, with effects that can last for 13 years, Sharma told the Hindustan Times.

In some ways, it’s similar to a vasectomy, a surgery that involves cutting or tying the vas deferens to stop sperm from entering the urethra and getting passed along to a female partner. But reversing a vasectomy requires more surgery, and the RISUG treatment can reportedly be reversed simply with another shot that breaks down the gel. It could cost as little as $10 in developing countries.