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July 5, 2012 5:24 PM   Subscribe

If RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance) is approved in India how can I, a US citizen, go there and get the procedure done?

I understand that RISUG might be available in India and other surrounding countries very soon. I don't want to wait 4-5 years for it to be approved in the US. I am already on a waiting list for clinical trials in the US but I haven't heard anything from them in a while.

Please help me understand the logistics of my plan. Who should I be talking to and how can I guarantee my health and safety during the procedure and after? I am also receptive to criticism and reasoning that suggests I wait for FDA approval.
posted by laptolain to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You could try contacting Medical Tourism in India and asking them about it. They have a section on Genito-Urinary Care but it doesn't mention RISUG.

That said, I do not believe you can "guarantee your health and safety during the procedure and after". That is a risk of medical tourism. You are traveling to the third world to get treatments, either because they are cheaper or because they are not available in your home country. But this is still a new treatment, you'll be an early adopter, and you'll be a medical tourist. That just strikes me as an inherently risky situation to be in.

You could try reading up on medical tourism in general. It is a growing industry, so I'm sure there's knowledge out there on how to mitigate the risks.

This does seem like a particularly sensitive procedure to go the tourist route with, though, especially if the whole point of it is that it is supposed to be reversible.
posted by alms at 7:40 PM on July 5, 2012

Consider the inherent risks involved in new untried procedures - especially ones where they don't quite understand why it works, considering the risks in medial tourism in general, considering the side effects noted, considering that the ability to reverse the procedure seems doable but unproven in human.

Consider all of that and contrast them with your other options to prevent a pregnancy.

I think you'll find that it would be prudent to choose another contraceptive method.

Taking such risks is usually justified by the rewards/risk ratio. They are usually done where there are no other or at least there doesn't seem to be any other options.

That doesn't seem to be the case with RISUG
posted by 2manyusernames at 7:52 PM on July 5, 2012

I'm a physician, hadn't heard of RISUG before but just read some articles about it. It sounds like the risk of complications is minimal here, especially because it looks like they give prophylactic antibiotics after the procedures to pre-empt infection - with the caveat that I am not a urologist and have not done extensive reading on this yet. The only side effect I saw mentioned was "transient scrotal swelling" (and "moderate discomfort" which is likely transient as well). However, as with any new procedure, this will not have been tested long term in humans. That would be the same, however, whether you had it done just after approval here, or in India.

Despite the fact that I suspect this procedure is pretty straightforward (especially for surgeons who already are skilled in vasectomy procedures), I think your best bet, wherever you get it, is to have it done by someone with as much experience in the procedure as possible, and then to remain nearby to the surgical center for some time after the procedure so that you can follow up with the same people who did it, if needed. You wouldn't want to hop a plane immediately afterwards, then show up in some American clinic or ED talking about follow up care for a procedure that very few people here would be familiar at all with. And of course - you'd think it goes without saying, but - any instructions the physician gives you about pre-surgical care and aftercare, follow them.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:53 PM on July 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

I do note in one of the articles that although some of the trial participants have had the procedure actually quite some time ago, it doesn't look like any human has opted for reversal. The fact that the reversal has only been done in the primate studies (even though the report is of 100% effectiveness) would give me pause.

I found a link you can use if you want to express interest in the Vasalgel trials in the USA.

Fascinating stuff!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:03 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wrote a research paper on this about a year ago! Very cool idea, and very promising but their statements about reversal seem exaggerated at best - they're assuming that what works in primates will work the same in humans - definitely not always the case!

So if reversibility is important for you, given that that's the main/only? advantage over vasectomy, I'd give that some serious thought (and read up on the original papers on PubMed if interested).
posted by randomnity at 9:12 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

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