Are Condoms With Spermicide Really Any More Effective Than Regular Ones?

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by Elizabeth Millard for MensHealth

In theory, it seems to make sense: If a condom contains spermicide—a chemical used to prevent pregnancy by wiping out sperm—it should be more effective, since the substance would kill whatever wily sperm happened to escape, especially during a condom break.

"But is it true that condoms with spermicide are more effective at warding off pregnancy or STDs?

Not so, says Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D., urologist and sexual health expert at Orlando Health.

“Spermicide does not decrease risk of pregnancy,” he says. “It also doesn’t prevent transmission of STDs. There is no reason to choose a condom with spermicide over one without it.” (Here are 15 ways you're using condoms wrong).

According to Planned Parenthood, when talking about just spermicide, it can be effective at preventing pregnancy when compared to using not birth control at all. But, the organization notes, it's difficult to use correctly. About 28 out of 100 women who use spermicide become pregnant every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says—compare that to 22 women who get pregnant using withdrawal, a notoriously risky birth control method..."