What are Spermicides?

Click here to learn how effective spermicides are as a contraceptive and how they prevent pregnancy

Spermicides are an over-the-counter form of birth control that you put in your vagina before sex, containing chemicals that prevent sperm from reaching an egg, either by preventing sperm from swimming or by blocking the entrance to the cervix. Spermicides come in different forms including condoms, gels, films, foams, and creams.

One disadvantage of spermicides is that they have a higher risk of unplanned pregnancy than other types of contraceptives. With spermicides alone, up to 21% of people may experience an unplanned pregnancy within the first year of use. It's also important to note that spermicides do not protect against sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.

Spermicide alone isn’t typically recommended as contraception. It’s more effective if spermicides are used in conjunction with a barrier method of contraception such as a condom  or cervical cap. There are even condoms that have spermicide added as additional support to prevent unplanned pregnancy.

It's important that you should always read the instructions on the proper use of your spermicide of choice as different types of spermicides require different steps and timings.