Terra Sigillata

[Hi Mom. Will call you soon but you really need not read this post. Love, Your son.]

Bora/Coturnix just alerted me to the FDA approval of a home sperm-check test that can be used to determine the effectiveness of one’s vasectomy. The product, SpermCheck Vasectomy, was developed by Dr John C Kerr and fellow researchers at the University of Virginia through their faculty business start-up program. This test could minimize the embarrassment of the 500,000 US men who undergo the 3rd most popular contraceptive procedure by obviating the need to bring a 90-day post-vasectomy semen sample to the clinic. Briefly, here’s how it works:

Over 17 years, Herr’s lab worked to identify a gene (ACRV1) that encoded a protein that could serve as a sperm-specific biomarker. This protein – SP-10 – is very soluble and highly expressed, making it an ideal target for diagnostic testing, as in the SpermCheck Vasectomy home-use test developed by U.Va. start-up ContraVac Inc. The device uses monoclonal antibodies that bind specifically to the SP-10 protein to measure the amount in nanograms of SP-10 protein present, which directly correlates to the number of sperm present.

Vasectomy carries at 0.02 to 0.2% failure rate due to spontaneous religation of the vas deferens. After the initial go-ahead confirmation of azoospermia following the procedure, the SpermCheck Vasectomy kit can be used to periodically to reconfirm sterility.

According to the press release, SpermCheck Vasectomy, could be made available as early as Spring 2008, manufactured by ContraVac, Inc.