Methods that will prevent pregnancy for some time (temporary) are shown in light blue and methods that will stop pregnancy for lifetime (permanent) are shown in dark blue. You can also compare methods via the link at the bottom of the page
The male condom is a very thin rubber or plastic sheath that goes over the penis. It only needs to be used when you have sex. The condom acts as a barrier to stop the man’s sperm from travelling into the woman during sex and thus preventing the sperm and egg from meeting.
- The condom works reasonably well at preventing a pregnancy but its ability to stop a pregnancy largely depends it being used it properly every time a couple has sex. This means it must be worn from the start to the finish of the sex act and a new one must be used for every sex act.
- In a perfect world, if one hundred women used condoms properly with their partners every time they had sex and carried on with their normal sex life then one or two of those women would fall pregnant while using only condoms.
- BUT condoms are not always used properly – risks of pregnancy are much higher with typical use- 15 out of 100 women would fall pregnant.
- It can be used straight after an abortion.
- You only need to use condoms when you have sex.
- If they are used for any type of sexual activity then they help to protect against most sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
- Male condoms come in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures
- Male condoms do not have any side effects and will not affect monthly bleeding patterns or weight.
- Male condoms can sometimes slip off or break, which is why they are not always as good as some other forms of contraceptive. Never use any oil-based lubricant with a condom as it will make it more likely to break during sex. If the condom breaks or tears or falls off during sex, then you may need to go to a pharmacy or doctor to use an alternative emergency contraception immediately afterwards to prevent pregnancy.
- Because of the latex, male condoms will create a different sexual sensation than sex without a condom.
- Some people are sensitive or allergic to certain types of condoms made of latex and this could cause irritation to the man’s penis or the woman’s vagina, though this is rare. In general condoms do not cause an irritation to either partner.
Carefully tear open the foil packaging (don’t use your teeth), making sure not to rip the latex condom inside. Before any contact is made between the penis and the vagina place the condom at the head of the erect penis. Squeeze the tip of the condom between your thumb and forefinger to prevent air being trapped and unroll the condom all the way to the base of the erect penis.
After ejaculation, withdraw the penis while it is still erect, holding the condom firmly in place at the base of the penis. Slide the condom off the penis, taking care not to spill any semen or to allow the penis to come into contact with the vagina. Although very rare, it is always good practice to check that the condom did not break before. Dispose of the used condom hygienically – tie the top so that nothing spills out and throw it in a rubbish bin (not in the toilet as it may cause a blockage).
Also known as “pulling out”, withdrawal is when the man withdraws his penis before finishing the sex act and ejaculates away from the woman’s genital area.
- Withdrawal is one of the least effective methods of preventing pregnancy as it is difficult to practice correctly all the time. If one hundred couples used the withdrawal method and continued on with their normal sex life then about 27 women would become pregnant.
- Withdrawal does not require any supplies or any visit to a pharmacy, so it is available in any situation with no preparation needed.
- Practising withdrawal promotes male involvement and couple communication.
- There are no side effects or effect on long-term fertility of practising withdrawal.
- Not all men can accurately sense when they are about to ejaculate, and may not be able to practice withdrawal.
- Using withdrawal correctly with every sex act is very difficult, making this an unreliable method of contraception for many couples.
- Withdrawal interrupts sex as the man must pull out of the woman before he is finished.
- Withdrawal does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.
- Even if withdrawal is used correctly, the woman can become pregnant due to pre-ejaculation discharge from the penis containing sperm.
A vasectomy is a permanent pregnancy prevention solution for men. Vasectomy (male sterilisation) involves closing the tubes that carry sperm from the man’s testicles.
The tubes normally deliver sperm into and from a man’s penis when he ejaculates. Closing the tubes means there is no sperm to fertilise the woman’s egg during sex. It will not affect your ability to have an orgasm or your sex drive.
Vasectomy is a simple surgical procedure that can be done in several ways. Typically a small cut is made in the scrotum, the tubes identified and then cut or sealed.
Vasectomy is an excellent way to prevent a pregnancy.
Where men cannot have their semen examined 3 months after the procedure to see if it still contains sperm, pregnancy rates are about 2 to 3 per 100 women over the first year after their partners have had a vasectomy.
Where men can have their semen examined after vasectomy, less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women over the first year after their partners have had vasectomies (2 per 1,000).
A vasectomy is not effective immediately. Another contraceptive must be used for the first three months after a vasectomy while remaining sperm are cleared beyond the area where his tubes were blocked.
- A man can have a vasectomy at any time.
- It is a permanent, so you do not need to remember to use contraception again.
- It doesn’t interrupt sex or affect your sex life. A man’s sex drive after a vasectomy will be the same as before. After a vasectomy a man can still have an erection and experience an orgasm.
- A vasectomy has no physical side effects for the man, other than preventing him from getting his partner pregnant.
- Vasectomy requires a surgical operation. Like any operation it has risks but it is very rare for something to go wrong.
- As vasectomy is permanent you should only choose vasectomy if you do not want children or have completed your family. You cannot change your mind once the operation is done.
- Vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
- Damage to other parts of the body during the procedure