COSO, an ultrasound-based, reversible male contraceptive device

Many men would like to take on more responsibility in matters of contraception. But the options are limited. Condoms and vasectomy are currently the only two contraceptives for men – and neither are hormonal methods or long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).

Now a German designer Rebecca Weiss has developed COSO, an ultrasound-based, reversible, and hormone-free male contraceptive device for home use that temporarily modifies spermatogenesis. Weiss has won the prestigious James Dyson Award for her COSO male contraception concept.

She wanted to create a form of male contraception after she was diagnosed with cancer precursor cervix due to hormonal contraception with the pill. She said the new device is painless and reversible and should prevent unwanted pregnancies.

COSO technical structure.
COSO technical structure. Credit: Rebecca Weiss

COSO has a simple and intuitive design. It consists of a base with magnetic charging and a silicone container filled with water transmitting ultrasonic waves. Cleaning is also very easy.

The proposed “testicle-bath” device needs to be filled up with water up to the indicated mark, which is set together with a doctor according to individual testicle size. The water is then automatically heated up to the temperature of a warm bath. The user then sits with his legs spread apart and puts his testicles in the water, which are ultra-sounded for two 15-minute treatments, two days apart.

The remaining time can be monitored in real-time via the COSO app. After the treatment, the device switches off automatically. The app also notifies you of the need to use COSO. The whole system does not use hormones or any other invasive method of contraception.

According to Weiss, the ultrasound contraceptive should become effective within two weeks and last for at least two months. And fertility would return to normal six months after the last treatment. The ultrasound contraceptive device offers a user-friendly contraceptive approach that is easy to use without any kind of physical intervention, pain, or previously known side effects.

The COSO is still a concept, and it is a long way off being launched, as thorough clinical trials would need to test it. Whether it is released depends on the results from these clinical studies. So far, the procedure has been applied to animals. Therefore, the technical parameters are hypothetically transferred to humans.

Hopefully, COSO works and becomes a reality. A male birth control method that only takes a couple of minutes and does not have any side effects for anyone would be a great achievement for many couples, especially women. Weiss is now seeking equity partners to fund clinical research to turn it into a product.

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