Why use contraception?
|Contraception is necessary if you wish to avoid an unintended pregnancy.|
|Every month a woman's ovary produces an egg. When a man ejaculates, his semen contains millions of sperm. It takes only one of these sperm to fertilise an egg and begin a pregnancy. If a couple has sex and do not take precautions, there is a high risk of pregnancy. Using contraception allows you to have sex and avoid an unintended pregnancy.|
A condom is always a good idea
|In Australia, there are more than 20,000 new sexually transmitted disease infections every year. One of the most common of these is chlamydia, which can lead to infertility if left untreated. A condom is your best protection against infections. If you use a condom and water-based lubricant every time you have sex you will have less chance of getting HIV/AIDS and many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).|
The male condom
|The male condom is a fine rubber (latex) or synthetic sheath that is worn on an erect (stiff) penis. It collects the sperm and stops them entering the vagina and uterus.|
How well does it work?
|Condoms are 98% effective with perfect use, if not used correctly or mistakes happen, there is a 2 in 10 chance (82%) of getting pregnant. They are not as effective as the Pill, IUD (Intra Uterine Device), DMPA (Depo Provera or Depo Ralovera) or the Contraceptive Skin Implant.|
You must use a new one every time you have sex and take care to put it on and take it off correctly. A water-based lubricant should be used every time you use a condom as this reduces the risk of the condom breaking. Condoms are for single use only.
|None, unless you or your partner are allergic to latex rubber or to the lubricant. Allergies to synthetic condoms are extremely rare.|
- Reduces the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS.
- No need to see a doctor to get them.
|The material used in male condoms is perishable so they need to be kept in a cool place and used before the expiry date. Oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly and massage oil should not be used with latex rubber condoms since these products increase the risk of the condom breaking. |
The female condom
|The female condom is a pre-lubricated sheath that fits loosely into the vagina. A soft removable ring helps to insert it as well as keeping the condom in place. A large flexible ring remains on the outside of the vagina, covering the opening of the vagina (vulva) and providing added protection.|
Female condoms are 95% effective with perfect use. But if not used correctly or if mistakes happen they are only 79% effective. This means approximately 2 in 10 women may get pregnant. They are made of polyurethane and are pre-lubricated with a silicone-based lubricant. Oil-based lubricant can be used with the female condom. Condoms are for single use only; you must use a new one every time you have sex. The female condom cannot be used with a male condom because this can cause it to move out of place.
|None, unless you are allergic to polyurethane or the lubricant. This is very rare.|
- Can be inserted before sex and does not need to be removed immediately after intercourse.
- Reduces the risk of pregnancy and STIs.
- No need to see a doctor to get them.
|These are soft silicone caps worn inside the vagina to cover the cervix (the entrance to the uterus). They prevent the sperm entering the uterus.|
How well do they work?
|For a diaphragm to work it needs to fit properly, to be put in correctly and to be used every time you have sex. They are about as effective as using condoms.|
- Used only when you have sex and do not affect the body the rest of the time.
- Can be used when a woman has her periods (menstruation).
- Are washed and used again, lasting one to two years.
- You have to put them in before you have sex (they can be inserted up to 24 hours before) and remove them after six hours.
- Some women may find them difficult to insert.
- Do not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Where to get more information
|Women's Health Information Centre|
|Ground floor, near main entrance |
Royal Women’s Hospital
Tel: (03) 8345 3045 or 1800 442 007 (rural callers)
|Choices Clinic at the Women's|
|A low cost service offering advice, consultation and treatment for all contraceptive and sexual health requirements.|
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8.45am to 11.30am.
Location: Level 1 South, Royal Women's Hospital
Tel: (03) 8345 3032 to make an appointment.
|For more information visit Choices Clinic service information page for more information.|
Related fact sheets
|The Royal Women’s Hospital does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided in this fact sheet or incorporated into it by reference. |
We provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.
|Last updated October 2012|