Sperm-blocking vaginal gel could be a reliable contraceptive method

A gel that is applied inside the vagina has been shown to block sperm injected into female sheep.

Hormone-based birth control methods, like the contraceptive pill and hormonal intrauterine devices.

This pills and IUDs has side effects like mood changes, reduced sex drive, sore breasts, nausea and headaches.

Non-hormonal methods like condoms, diaphragms and fertility tracking apps.

A hormone-free vaginal gel that may work as well as hormonal contraceptives but without the side effects.

The gel contains chitosan, a biopolymer that is derived from fungus or crab shells.

The researchers used a syringe applicator to insert the gel towards the backs of the vaginas of sheep.

They artificially inseminated each of the eight sheep tested with 1 billion sperm.

The chitosan gel didn’t cause inflammation of the vaginal walls, which may make it less irritating to use.