Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

It's really important to use spermicide correctly — every time you have sex. It’s much better at preventing pregnancy when combined with other methods like condoms.

How effective is spermicide at preventing pregnancy?

Like all birth control methods, spermicide is most effective when you use it correctly every single time you have vaginal sex. Be sure to read the directions that come with your type of spermicide and use it every time you have sex, or it won’t work as well.

When it comes to the numbers, 18 out of 100 people who use spermicide will become pregnant each year, even if they always use it correctly. But using spermicide perfectly is hard, so in reality about 21 out of 100 people who use spermicide become pregnant every year — that means spermicide is 79% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Using spermicide alone isn’t the most effective way to prevent pregnancy, but it’s better than using no birth control at all. If you’re serious about preventing pregnancy, use spermicide along with another method, like condoms or withdrawal (pulling out).

Looking for birth control that offers maximum protection from pregnancy? Check out IUDs and the implant. They’re the most effective kinds of birth control.

How can I make spermicide more effective?

Using spermicide correctly every single time you have vaginal sex is the way to go. The best way to increase your pregnancy prevention powers is to use spermicide along with another birth control method. Your partner can pull out before ejaculating (cumming), which helps keep sperm out of the vagina so it can’t cause pregnancy. Condoms and spermicide give great protection against pregnancy, and condoms also prevent STDs.

Does spermicide protect against STDs?

No, spermicide does NOT protect against STDs. In fact, using spermicide many times a day may actually increase your risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. That’s because the chemical in spermicide (called Nonoxynol-9) can irritate your vagina and make it easier for STD germs to enter your body.

Adding condoms to the mix helps protect you from STDs and gives you an extra boost of pregnancy prevention. If you’re going to have sex, using condoms every time and getting tested are the best ways to keep yourself healthy.

Was this page helpful?
You’re the best! Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks for your feedback.

Spermicide and Gel

  • 79% or 86% effective

  • Costs up to $270, but can be $0

  • No prescription required (except for Phexxi)

  • Put it in before sex

Spermicide and gel don't protect you from STDs. Use a condom with them to help stop pregnancy and STDs.
See All Methods

This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.