Valley Teen Clinic

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Birth Control


What are spermicides and how do they work?

There are many types of spermicides: gels, film, suppositories, creams & foam. All types of spermicide are made with non-oxynol 9, a chemical that kills sperm. Each type must be placed in vagina before sex. Once inside body heat causes them to melt inside the vagina, once melted they kill sperm on contact.

What are my chances of not getting pregnant by using spermicides?

If used perfectly every time (following directions EXACTLY), spermicides are 94% effective. If spermicides NOT used perfectly every time, they can be as low as 50% effective. If used with a condom, spermicides can be as high as 99% effective.

Are they any side effects to using spermicides?

If you are allergic to spermicides they can irritate your skin. This irritation may make it easier for STD or HIV transmission if you are exposed to an STD or HIV.

What are the Pros of using spermicides?

  • You don't need to see a medical professional to get them, you can buy them in differnt types of stores like drug stores, discount stores and markets.
  • They are easy to use and carry around.
  • You use them only when you need them.

What are the Cons of using spermicides?

  • Can make transmission of STDs and HIV easier if allergic to spermicide.
  • No protection against STDs or HIV.
  • Can be messy.
  • Must use them just before having sex.
  • Must be left in vagina for 6 – 8 hours after sex.