After a 40 Year Battle, Is Male Birth Control Finally Coming?


Image: MOTHERBOARD
Image: MOTHERBOARD
Meet the man who never gave up on bringing it to market.

By Sohini Chattopadhyay | MOTHERBOARD

Professor Sujoy K. Guha is undeniably stylish. A short, slender man, he is among the select few who can pull off a pair of sneakers with formal shirts and trousers. At 76, he is deceptively brisk, guiding me around the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur campus to show off his new projects: an artificial heart modeled on the 13-chamber heart of the cockroach; a road transport system to lower vehicular pollution. Guha is cheerful and poised with a birdlike quaver in his voice, not at all how I expected a man who has waited 37 years for his work to be introduced to the world.

In 1979, Guha published a paper in the scientific journal Contraception  laying out the idea for his original drug molecule Risug, a non-hormonal, reversible male contraceptive. His idea is simple: All particles carry an electric charge and can be defused by the opposing charge. Sperm are negatively charged and can be defused by the positive ions of the Risug drug polymer. This polymer is inserted with a single injection to the scrotum, which forms an indissoluble film inside the vas deferens—the duct connecting the testes to the penis. The drug formulation for this injection is styrene maleic acid anhydride with dimethyl sulfoxide (SMA+DMSO).

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