Contraceptives are devices or methods for preventing pregnancy, either by preventing the fertilization of the female egg by the male sperm or by preventing implantation of the fertilized egg.
Choosing the appropriate contraceptive is a personal decision that varies from individual to individual. Contraceptive options include:
The condom is the only birth control method that provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Contraceptive effectiveness is characterized by "typical use" and "perfect use":
The most effective standard female contraceptives are surgical sterilization, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and the implant. They all have an estimated failure rate of 1% or less during the first year of normal (typical) use. Vasectomy (male surgical sterilization) is the only male contraceptive that is equally effective. By comparison, the estimated failure rate of the male latex condom is 17% with typical use and 2% with perfect use. To put these rates into perspective, a sexually active woman of reproductive age who does not use contraception faces an 85% likelihood of becoming pregnant in the course of a year.
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