The Bimek SLV: The World's First "Bioswitch" for Sperm Flow

Updated on: November 28, 2018

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Bimek SLV is a reversible type of male birth control that is currently under development. This device works by stopping the flow of sperm through the vas deferens with the flip of a switch. This makes a man temporarily sterile.

The device is about the size of a gummy bear. It is made of a polymer that is used in other kinds of medical implants. The company that is developing this product says that the implant should last a lifetime.

How Is the Device Implanted?

A man would first need to have a medical examination to make sure that the device is appropriate for him. If it is, he would be scheduled for an outpatient surgery.

Surgery is done under local anesthesia and takes 30 minutes. During the procedure, the doctor makes a small incision in the scrotum. The doctor then cuts each spermatic cord. These contain the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm from the testicles.

The cut ends of the spermatic cord are then connected to the device. These will stay together as long as the device remains in the scrotum. The device and the spermatic cord are placed back in the scrotum and the incision is sutured shut.

How Does the Sperm Switch Work?

The Bimek SLV acts like a valve, with an on-off switch. When the device is implanted, the valve is open. The valve can be closed by pushing on the switch through the skin of the scrotum. Semen and sperm are then diverted into the scrotum rather than being ejaculated. These are absorbed by the body.

The valve can be reopened by holding down a separate safety button, which allows the switch to be moved into the open position. This prevents the switch from being opened accidentally.

As with vasectomy, it can take 20 to 30 ejaculations—up to eight weeks—before the semen is free of sperm. This is because some sperm remain in the vas deferens after the valve is closed, even though no new sperm can get through. During that time a man would need to use another method of birth control

When men have a vasectomy, however, they go to their doctor for a follow-up check to make sure that their semen is free of sperm. This is the best way to avoid the risk of pregnancy. With the Bimek SLV, there is a risk that men will resume unprotected sex without knowing if their semen is really free of sperm.

When Will the Bimek SLV Be Available?

This device is still under development. Before it can be sold, it must go through clinical trials to make sure it is safe.

Some doctors have expressed concerns that the device could cause excess scar tissue to form or that it might become clogged with sperm. These could interfere with how well the device works.

Updated on July 27, 2016

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