When Birth Control Fails

How Can You Interpret Birth Control Failure Rates?

May 13, 2018

“that I am rather confused about how to translate failure prices. It’s making it so tough to figure out precisely how successful certain birth control is. For instance, I see that the failure rate of condoms is 2-15% when 100 couples have intercourse regularly for a year. Does this mean that if a couple has sex 100 times in a calendar year, with condoms every moment, that there is a 2-15% chance that a pregnancy may occur? Also, why is there a range of all failure rates for some birth control techniques and not others?”

In order to choose the best birth control method for you and to maximize its effectiveness, it’s vital that you understand how to interpret birth control failure rates. I would love to point out, but that failure rates are meant to be quite reliable estimations of birth control efficacy — yet they are not absolute. Most failure prices are determined in clinical research studies with sample populations of participants. Theoretically, it’s likely that different topic pools utilizing the same birth control method can create different failure prices. Researchers try to minimize this by utilizing a high number of diverse participants. Failure rates, in study, can also be affected by demographics, instructional degrees, culture and the instruction technique that’s used to teach how to use the contraceptive approach.

That being said, this is a fantastic question and is a concept that is often misunderstood.

So, what does this imply when you browse condoms have a 2-15% failure rate? Well, another way to understand that is that condoms are 85-98% successful. The effectiveness rate is the contrary of this collapse rate… you basically subtract the collapse rate from 100, and that number is your birth control efficacy rate.

Failure rates are generally calculated for each birth control method depending on the amount of pregnancies which can be prevented by using that contraceptive, or the difference between the amount of pregnancies expected to happen if no method is used and the amount expected to take place with that method. The appropriate way to interpret birth control effectiveness/failure rates is as follows:
Using condoms as an example — Condoms are 85-98% successful (meaning that they have a failure rate of 2-15percent ).

This usually means that: of every 100 women whose partners use condoms, 2 to 15 will become pregnant within the first year of use. So basically, the failure rate does not consult with how many times you have sex, it correlates the quantity of people (100) who utilize this method over the course of a single year.

The reason why you may see an array at the prices must do with “typical use” vs. “perfect use”:

  • Typical use failure rates tend to more represent the way the average individual uses contraception. These prices apply to folks who became pregnant while not constantly using their contraception correctly and/or consistently. In reality, many people find it challenging to consistently and reliably use contraception properly.
  • Perfect use failure rates reflect pregnancies that happened with folks although they constantly use their contraception correctly and consistently.

    Normal user failure rates tend to be greater than perfect use since, in a nutshell, the contraceptive is not being utilized perfectly. Therefore, when the failure rates are presented in a range, the lower number represents perfect use and the greater number is for average use. Birth control methods that require more for a individual to do (i.e., don’t forget to utilize, be inserted or put on a sure way, be used in a particular interval, etc.), are inclined to have higher failure rates since there is more room for error. On some occasions, you will not find an array in failure rates; this means that typical use is equivalent to ideal use.

    This tends to be the case for contraception that is inserted or performed by a doctor. Once this occurs, there is virtually nothing for a person to perform, so this eliminates typical user errors. Examples of contraceptives with equal perfect use and typical use failure rates are:

    • Nexplanon
    • Vasectomy
    • Mirena
    • Skyla
    • Essure
    • Tubal Ligation

    One last point to keep in mind in regards to birth control failure rates is they usually refer to the number or women (out of 100) who use that birth control method who will become pregnant throughout the initial year of use. In practice, it appears that the failure rates tend to be greater during the first year that you consistently use one specific contraceptive. There are several reasons why failure levels may decrease after using a method for one year. These include:

    • The more experience you have with a birth control method, the better its efficacy. The longer you use a technique, in concept, the more comfortable and much better skilled you become at properly using it. This should help reduce typical user mistakes.
    • Less motivated users might become pregnant and stop using contraception (leaving those who are still using a particular method following a year to be more serious and devoted users).
    • A woman’s fertility level decreases with age, so with every year that passes, she is not as likely to become pregnant.

    Final Thoughts:

    Failure rates are based on the number of folks who use a given birth control method over the course of a year. The number of times you have sex during this year does not factor into these rates. However, the frequency which you have sex might be one of your criteria for choosing a birth control method. Essentially, if you are aware that you will be having a good deal of sex, it may be a wiser choice to use a more effective method to have the best chances of not becoming pregnant. You ought to consider how detrimental an unplanned pregnancy would be. These are a few of the factors to take into account when comparing the failure rates of various contraceptive methods. You should also keep in mind that no matter the posted effectiveness/failure speed, other variables (in addition to user error or inconsistent use) may diminish the efficacy of certain birth control methods. These can range from the motivation to your own weight to particular medications that you use.

    • Factors to Consider Regarding the Effectiveness of Contraception

    When comparing birth control methods, make sure that you pay attention to whether the submitted numbers refer to failure rates or efficacy rates as well as typical use or ideal use. Additionally you should decide how dependable you want your contraception to be. Understanding how to interpret failure rates, knowing factors that could influence a contraceptive’s effectiveness, evaluating your lifestyle and sexual behaviour, and determining the level of effectiveness that’s most suitable to you personally can greatly help in any birth control decision that you make.