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Male Birth Control and Female Birth Control Alternatives

Vasectomy (including conventional and no scalpel vasectomies) and tubal ligation are considered permanent methods of male birth control and female birth control. Though vasectomy reversal and tubal reversal are possible, its expensive, likely not covered by insurance and the odds of success are not great. So for most couples, alternative birth control is necessary. Also for those who are not in a stable safe relationship, the prevention or spread of sexually transmitted disease (STD), including HIV / AIDS and venereal diseases means that condoms (a male birth control) are still the best defence against these diseases.

Fortunately there are a variety of birth control methods for the male and female among those that are not considered permanent. Many credit the invention of the birth control pill for women in 1960 as the impetus behind launching the woman’s liberation movement. It remains the most popular form of reversible birth control in the USA. Females have several birth-control options available to them, including the pill, ring, patch and injection, which are all highly effective, though subject to human error.

Today, research companies grow closer to revealing the first continuous, reversible birth control contraceptive pill for the male. Unfortunately male birth control options are fewer. Besides vasectomies, only the condom and withdrawal methods are available.

The table below lists the common methods of male birth control and female birth control. Under the column “lowest expected” and “typical,” are the percentages of accidental pregnancy in the United States during the first year of use of that method.

Birth Control Methods Lowest Expected Typical
Chance* 85 85
Spemicides* 3 21
Periodic Abstinence
Calendar
Ovulation Method
Sympto-thermal*
Post-ovulation

9
3
2
1
20
Withdrawal 4 18
Cap** 6 18
Sponge
Parous Woman
Nulliparous women

9
6

28
18
Diaphragm* 6 18
Condom* 2 12
UDI
Progestasert
Copper T 380A

2.0
0.8

3
Pill
Combined
Progestogen only

0.1
0.5
3
Injectable Progestogen
DMPA
NET

0.3
0.4

0.3
0.4
Implants
NORPLANT (6 capsules)
NORPLANT-2 (2 rods)

0.04
0.03

0.04
0.03
Female Sterilization
(tubal ligation)
0.2 0.4
Male Sterilization - vasectomy (no-scalpel & conventional) 0.1 0.15

* Among couples who initiate these male birth control and female birth control methods (not necessarily for the first time) and who use it perfectly (both consistently and correctly), the author’s best guess of the percentage expected to experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year if they do not stop use for any other reason.

** among couples who initiate these male birth control and female birth control methods (not necessarily for the first time), the percentage who experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year if they do not stop use for any other reason.

The “lowest expected” and “typical” percentages are based on data from populations in which contraception is not used and from women who cease using contraception in order to become pregnant. These represent our best guess of the percent who would conceive among women now relying on reversible male birth control and female birth control, if they abandon contraception all together. The lowest reported percent is based on United States women who use no contraception even though they do not wish to become pregnant. This group is selected for low fecundity or low coital frequency and some fraction may use an unreported variant of periodic abstinence.

  • Foams and Vaginal suppositories
  • Cervical Mucus (ovulation) method supplemented by calendar in the preovulatory and basal body temperature in the postovulatory phases.
  • With spermicidal cream or jelly
  • Without Spermicides

As the table indicates, vasectomy offers the lowest chance of pregnancy among all the birth control methods – male and female. For female birth control, tubal ligation, (including Essure and Adiana) offers the lowest chance of pregnancy. However, both are regarded as permanent. There are many female birth control alternatives that offer a good success. However, for men, the condom is the only real alternative for male birth control.

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