“Do I need to use spermicide with the FemCap?”
We get asked this question ALL the time.
The answer is both simple and nuanced.
Spermicide is a contraceptive gel that kills sperm upon contact. It is traditionally used by coating the walls of the vagina and cervix before penetrative intercourse. While effective, spermicide is astringent in quality and can lead to discomfort for both the vagina and the penis.
The FemCap is designed with a deep groove to trap semen. You have the option of lining this inner groove with spermicide. Think of this rim like a funnel. It guides the seminal fluid into the groove where BAM! The spermicide is hiding there, waiting to kill all those pesky little sperm. Pretty clever, right?
The FemCap is designed to hold the spermicide for you, eliminating the need for either partner to come into direct contact with it.
Back to the question: Is spermicide necessary?
Not exactly… The primary mechanism that prevents fertilization is the barrier of the FemCap itself. When properly in place, The FemCap entirely blocks off contact with the cervix so that sperm cannot physically enter the cervix and uterus. The spermicide just serves as the FemCap’s loyal sperm-killing side-kick.
Spermicide is not the only thing that kills sperm. Oxygen and the acidic environment of the vagina also kill sperm. In order for oxygen to kill sperm, the FemCap must remain firmly in place for 6 hours after intercourse before removing. We repeat, and in all caps for dramatic emphasis,
IT IS NECESSARY TO KEEP THE FEMCAP IN PLACE FOR 6 HOURS AFTER INTERCOURSE WITH OR WITHOUT SPERMICIDE.
However, all clinical trials of the FemCap were conducted WITH spermicide. Therefore, all rates of efficacy are based on the results of using the FemCap and spermicide together.
Can you use the FemCap without spermicide? Yes. But in doing so you are relying solely on your ability to properly place the FemCap over your cervix.
We also cannot recommend tracking your fertility window enough. Tracking your fertility window helps you identify the exact days in which you can or cannot get pregnant, a process which further eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy and a process that the FemCap can also assist you with! For more information on that, see our blog post. “Cervical Mucus, What is it and Why Should I Care?”