A German carpenter has invented a valve which he claims will revolutionise contraception, by allowing a man to turn the flow of sperm from his testicles on and off at the flick of a switch.
Clemens Bimek told Spiegel magazine the idea first came to him some 20 years ago, when he was watching a television documentary about contraception, and wondered whether it would be possible to control the flow of sperm with a simple valve.
When he discovered that no one had ever filed a patent for such a device, he decided to develop his own.
“Many of the doctors I consulted didn’t take me seriously. But there were some who encouraged me to go on tinkering and helped me with their expertise,” Mr Bimek said.
Now the valve he has developed is to be implanted in 25 men in trials starting this year.
The tiny valves are less than a inch long and weigh less than a tenth of an ounce. They are surgically implanted on the vas deferens, the ducts which carry sperm from the testicles, in a simple half-hour operation.
They are controlled with a simple on-off switch which the man can reach under the skin of his scrotum.
So far Mr Bimek himself is the only man who had them implanted. He underwent the operation under a local anaesthetic so he could help direct the surgeon.
Hartwig Bauer, the urologist who carried out the surgery, told Spiegel the valve was preferable to a vasectomy.
SOURCE: Justin Huggler