The advantage of barrier methods is that the sperm and any bugs (STD’s and AIDS) are largely kept outside the uterine cavity and in the case of male condoms and female condoms are kept out of the vagina as well. This allows for more STD prevention than any other techniques. The best prevention is, of course, some critiques will say, to keep sex just between the same man and woman all the time.
I agree with this viewpoint, but have been witnessing a lot of exceptions to this rule in my clinical experience. Male and female condoms can be applied by the user him- or herself, should be applied before sexual intercourse and has to be handled carefully after sex to dispose of the sperm.
Cervical caps and birth control diaphragms have to be fitted to the internal genital size of the woman by the gynecologist or knowledgeable family physician. Diaphragms should be left in place for 6 hours after intercourse and be used together with a spermicidal cream. Cervical caps can be used for 36 hours not requiring spermicidal cream every time after intercourse as with diaphragm use.
Failure rates can be as high as 10% to 15%. The question is then what to do. The choice is often abortions for these unwanted pregnancies. This is the reason behind the criticism of many churches and ethicists against these methods.
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