A chemical substance that kills sperm to prevent pregnancy.
Our bottom line
Spermicide comes in many forms, like creams or suppositories, and are usually used with barrier contraceptives to increase the effectiveness of preventing pregnancy.
- No hormones so almost no side effects.
- Easy to get at pharmacies or online without a prescription.
- Safe to use while breastfeeding.
- Can be applied hours before sex (so won't interrupt the moment!).
This method has the highest failure rate out of 17 birth control methods listed. This method is the least effective!SourceMore birth control methods
- Not very effective at preventing pregnancy when used on its own.
- Can be hard to remember to use in the heat of the moment.
- Might make sex messy.
- Not effective at preventing STDs.
- Read the instructions! Different brands and forms of spermicide may have different instructions on how to apply and use.
- Might cause sensitivity or irritate your vagina or your partner's penis.
Spermicide contains an active ingredient, commonly nonoxynol-9, that immobilizes sperm and prevents it from getting to the egg. If applied correctly, it should make it impossible for sperm to pass the cervix.