The flow of sperm in humans can now be flipped on and off with the simple flip of a switch. A German carpenter named Clemens Bimek claims that he has invented a revolutionary form of contraception: an on and off valve to control the flow of sperm from the testicles.
The Bimek SLV device utilizes minuscule valves surgically implanted on the vas deferens, the duct that sends sperm from the testicle to the urethra. A switch implanted under the skin of the scrotum controls whether the valves are open or closed. All in all, the implantation procedure is said to take only 30 minutes.
Bimek has already tested his device on himself–an ordeal he says was done with only a low-grade anesthetic so that he could assist the surgeon.
The idea for the device came to Bimek about 20 years ago while he was watching a documentary on contraception. He did some research of his own and learned that there wasn’t a patent for sperm control using a simple valve implant, and then went to work creating his own.
“Many of the doctors I consulted didn’t take me seriously,” Bimek said in an interview for Spiegel. “But there were some who encouraged me to go on tinkering and helped me with their expertise.”
Despite Bimek’s confidence, some fear that the implant could cause scarring and permanently block the vans deferens. However, implants made with similar materials have been successful in other areas of the body. If successful, the Bimek SLV could be a non-permanent alternative to getting a vasectomy–or it could be detrimental to a man’s health. Either way, the world will soon know if male contraception is as easy as flipping off a light–25 men will receive the implant in trials starting this year.