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Reliability of contraceptives (prophylactics)

Abstract: A table of different contraceptives and their reliability, indicated as the probability of pregnancy in one year's usage.

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Reliability of contraceptives (prophylactics)

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Question(s): 
Written by: Jacob Palme, professor
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 27 Feb 2017.

Which contraceptives are most reliable?

Answer:

Method
Probability of pregnancy in one year
Comment
Theoretical if the method is always used perfectly
In practice, including for example that a condom can break or that one forgets to take a contraceptive pill
No contraceptive
85%
85%
Coitus interruptus (Withdrawing the penis before ejaculation)
9%
40%
Diaphragm
5%
18%
Copper loop
2%
5%
Note: A Copper loop can also be inserted after an unprotected sexual relatiion. If inserted the day after, its reliability is the same as specified in this table.
Acute contraceptive pill An acute contraceptive pill is not suitable for regular use many times a year, and thus reliability data for regular use several times per year cannot be given in this table. But the probability of getting pregnant if such a pill is taken is less than 3 %. An acute contraceptive pill can be taken the day after an unprotected sexual relation. However, on the day after an unprotected sexual relation, insertion of a copper loop is an even safer way of preventing pregnancy.
Contraceptive pill, estrogen and progestogen combined
Very low, less than 1 %
Also very low
prophylactic condom
2%
12%

Prophylactic condom or a combination of condom and other means are the only means which will also protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as Clamydia and HIV.

Combination of contraceptive pill and condom
0%
0,4%
IUD, Injection, Implant, Patch, Ring
Less than 0,6%
Less than 0,8%
IUS
Less than 0,2%
Hormone implantation
0,2%
0,2%
Female sterilization
0,2%
0,4%
Depo-provera
0,3%
0,3%
Male sterilization
0,1%
0,15%
Abstention from sex
0%
0%
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