UK GCSE level age ~14-16, ~US grades 9-10 Biology revision notes re-edit 19/05/2023 [SEARCH]

 Human sexual reproduction: 6. Contraceptive evaluation - comparing methods of contraception -  barrier, natural, surgical and hormonal methods

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(6) Contraceptive evaluation - comparing methods of contraception

A comparison of barrier, interuterine, natural, surgical and hormonal methods of contraception

Generally speaking, if used correctly, most hormonal methods are more effective at preventing pregnancy than barrier methods, and have the advantage of a couple not having to think about contraception each time they have sexual intercourse - which you have to think of using a barrier method.

Examples of advantages and disadvantages of some methods of contraception.

Barrier methods are generally free from side-effects - though rare allergic reactions have been reported.

Condoms are widely available and protect against sexually transmitted diseases like HIV,

BUT, they can slip off and must be withdrawn after ejaculation to avoid spillage.

Diaphragms can be put in just before sex and there are no health risks,

BUT, diaphragms must be left in for several hours after sex (sperm survive for a time) and some people are sensitive to spermicide.

IUD methods have the advantage of working immediately and can be left in place for 3-5 years if hormonal or up to 10 years if copper.

In using natural methods things must be done carefully - natural cycles can be 'mistimed'.

Hormonal contraception methods can have unpleasant side effects such as nausea, headaches, acne and mood changes.

AND, unlike the use of condoms, hormonal methods do NOT protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Long-lasting methods of contraception lasting for weeks, months or years might be preferable than short-term methods, if only for convenience and less thinking to do.

Successful surgery, both male and female is 100% effective, no need to think about using a contraceptive, but it is irreversible.

Types of contraceptives and typical success rates in preventing pregnancy

Condoms 98%,  diaphragm 92-96%,  implants 99%,  IUD >99%, oral contraceptives 91-99%,  sterilisation >99%

I can't find any figures for other contraception strategies.


You should get, and take, good medical advice from practitioners e.g. doctor or nurse about your strategy for contraception.

For more on sexually transmitted diseases see communicable diseases



INDEX of biology notes on human sexual reproduction


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