'Temporary vasectomy' for men in Vic trial

Temporary vasectomies could be a "game-changer" for contraception if a world-first trial at a Melbourne hospital is successful.

Twenty-five men taking part in the study will have a hydrogel injected into the vas deferens - the tubes that carry sperm - to stop sperm travelling from the testicles.

It's believed the effect of the hydrogel would last for about two years and could then be reinjected, offering an alternative to a standard vasectomy, which is intended to be permanent.

Researchers at Epworth Freemasons in Melbourne have already performed the day procedure on four men.

Participants will be monitored for three years, providing samples and undergoing regular health checks.

Principal investigator and Epworth Freemasons urologist Nathan Lawrentschuk said they study would examine whether the hydrogel offered a non-permanent alternative for male contraception.

"If it is successful, it could be a game-changer, ensuring that contraception is a shared responsibility between couples," Professor Lawrentschuk said.

At present, vasectomies and condoms are the only widely available form of male contraception in Australia.

Scientists from Monash University are working to develop a hormone-free male contraceptive pill.

As well as the pill and other temporary measures, women can access several forms of long-acting contraception.

They include an intrauterine device (IUD), which is inserted into the uterus; a contraceptive implant, which is a small plastic rod inserted into the arm; and regular hormone injections.