Birth Control Failure

Birth control failure is more common than most realize, here is a chart displaying birth control failure rate percentages, as well as common risks and side effects.

Birth Control Failure Chart

Method How it is Used Failure Rate Risks & Side Effects
Abstinence No sexual intercourse and no type of contact between the male and female sexual organs where bodily fluids could be exchanged 0% No Side Effects
Cervical Cap A soft rubber barrier that covers the cervix in order to prevent sperm from entering into the uterus 20% (40% after childbirth) No Side Effects (unless allergic)
Condom – Female A sheath, often made of latex rubber, inserted into the vaginal to block the passage of sperm 21% No Side Effects (unless allergic)
Condom – Male A sheath, often made of latex rubber, covers the erect penis to block the passage of sperm 14% No Side Effects (unless allergic)
Depo-Provera Injection Injection of Progestin that is given every 3 months to prevent ovulation, change cervical mucus to block sperm, and change the lining or the uterus to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg 0.3% Irregular or missed menstrual cycle,Weight gain, Breast tenderness
Diaphragm A soft rubber dome that covers the cervix to block the passage of sperm. 20% No Side Effects (unless allergic)
Fertility Awareness Using the menstrual cycle and other tools to predict ovulation, and abstaining from intercourse during these expected fertile times 25% No Side Effects
Intrauterine Device (IUD) – Copper A device is inserted into a woman’s uterus (by a doctor) to block sperm and change the uterus lining to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg 0.8% Ectopic pregnancies, Increased bleeding during menstrual cycle, Severe menstruation cramps, Perforation of the uterus, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Intrauterine Device (IUD) – Progesterone 2%
Lunelle Injection Injection os Progestin and Estrogen that is given every month to prevent ovulation, change cervical mucus to block sperm, and change the lining or the uterus to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg 0.1 – 1% Similar to oral contraceptives
Nothing/Chance No birth control method 85% No Side Effects
Oral Contraceptive (estrogen/progestin) Taken daily by women to suppress ovulation and change the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg 5% Nausea, Headaches, Weight gain, Depression, Irregular Bleeding*Women who smoke are advised not to take oral contraceptives
Oral Contraceptive (progestin only) Taken daily by women to change cervical mucus to block sperm and also changes the uterus lining to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg 5% Breast tenderness, Weight gain, Menstrual cycle changes*Women who smoke are advised not to take oral contraceptives
Ortho-Evra Patch A patch containing synthetic hormones placed on your skin works same as oral contraceptives 0.1 – 1% Similar to oral contraceptives
Spermicide (only) A jelly, foam, or cream containing chemicals that kill sperm 26% No Side Effects (unless allergic)
Sponge A soft saucer-shaped polyurethane sponge that blocks the cervix and absorbs semen 20% (40% after childbirth) No Side Effects (unless allergic)
Sterilization – Female Permanent surgical procedure to prevent pregnancy – fallopian tube is damaged to prevent passage of eggs and sperm 0.5% If a woman conceives after a sterilization procedure there is a risk of an ectopic pregnancies.
Sterilization – Male Permanent surgical procedure to prevent pregnancy – vas deferens tube is damaged to prevent passage of sperm into ejaculate 0.2% No Side Effects
Withdrawal Withdrawal of the penis before ejaculation 19% No Side Effects
Last Updated: 07/2003