Font Size
A
A
A
1

Birth Control Spermicides

What Are Birth Control Spermicides?

  • Spermicides are chemical barriers to conception.
  • They are a reversible method of birth control, meaning that when a woman quits using them, full fertility returns.
  • Vaginal spermicides are available in forms such as foam, cream, jelly, film, suppository, or tablet.
  • Spermicides are not as effective as many other forms of birth control when used alone.
  • They are often used with barrier methods of birth control and are much more effective when used in this context.

How Spermicides Work

  • Spermicides contain a chemical that kills sperm or makes them inactive so they cannot enter a woman’s cervix.
  • Nonoxynol-9 is the active chemical in most spermicide products in the United States.
  • The concentration of the chemical depends on the product.

Obtaining Spermicides

  • Several brands and types of spermicides are available over the counter.
  • They can be obtained at drugstores, some supermarkets, and family planning clinics.
  • Planned Parenthood lists the cost of applicator kits for foam and gel at about $8, and refills at about $4-8. Film and suppositories are priced similarly. 
  • In some states, the cost is covered by Medicaid when provided by clinics or authorized by a private doctor.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/19/2016
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Birth Control Spermicides:

Birth Control Spermicide - Patient Experience

Have you used spermicide as a method of birth control? Tell us whether it was effective.

Birth Control Spermicides - Benefits and Drawbacks

Tell us about the benefits and drawbacks of using spermicide as a method of birth control.


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Contraception »

The practice of contraception is as old as human existence.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary