Resources for Teens > Preventing Pregnancy > Spermicide


What is spermicide?

A chemical product that comes in the form of a jelly, foam, or cream. It is a barrier method of birth control.

How does it work?

Spermicidal chemicals are designed to kill the sperm before they reach the uterus.

How effective is spermicide?

Although foam used correctly every time possesses a failure rate of approximately 8%, spermicidal chemicals alone are not considered an effective form of birth control. Typical use of spermicide, which is considered the way most people use it, possesses a failure rate of 26% or approximately one in four. Spermicides should be used with another barrier method of birth control:diaphragm, cervical cap, or condom. You should take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.

What are the side effects or health risks of spermicides?

In few cases, allergic reaction to the chemicals in spermicides leads to itching, burning, or possibly redness.

Are spermicides reversible?

Yes. They do not have any effects on either the male or female reproductive cycle. It is possible to get pregnant immediately if it is no longer used.

How much do they cost?

Foams, jellies, or creams range in cost from approximately $7 to $18. The cost of spermicide averages approximately 25¢ per use.

What about spermicides and sexually transmitted diseases (STD's)?

Spermicidal chemicals do not prevent contact of the vagina from the partner's skin or bodily fluids. Spermicides should NOT be considered as a means of protection against the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

What are the pros and cons of spermicides?

The Pros:

The Cons:


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