Birth Control Effectiveness

The use effectiveness of a birth control method is defined as how well a birth control method works in ”typical use”, taking into consideration human error and other non-ideal factors.

To make an informed choice, both partners need to understand how to use the method correctly and consistently. Effectiveness figures are based on 100 couples using the method for a year and show the percentage who do not get pregnant while using the method for 1 year. For more information on any of these methods, contact Sex Sense or visit an Options for Sexual Health Clinic in your area.



Use Effectiveness*
(Actual Use)


  • Copper
  • Hormonal (Progestin)


Depo Provera (DMPA) 94%


  • Combined
  • Progestin


Vaginal Ring 91%
Patch 91%
Diaphragm** 88%
External Condom 82%
Internal Condom 79%
Withdrawal Method 78%


  • Foams, creams, gel, VCF
  • Sponge


Fertility Awareness Method**** 76%
Lactational Amenorrhea Method***** 75-88%
Vasectomy 99.8%
Tubal Ligation 99.5%
Continuous Abstinence No established rate with typical use
No method 15%

*Rates based on current SOCG Canadian Contraceptive Consensus

** Diaphragms are not widely available in Canada. Effectiveness percentage is when diaphragm is used with spermicidal jelly.

*** Spermicides include foams, creams, gels, vaginal suppositories, vaginal film, and spermicidal sponges. Spermicides are not readily available in Canada. Effectiveness of the sponge: 88% is for women and gender diverse folks with uteruses who have not given birth, 76% effectiveness is for those who have given birth.

**** Fertility Awareness Methods are methods that use techniques to determine high-risk fertile days. This can include using the calendar method, cervical mucus ovulation detection method, and Basal Body Temperature Method (BBT), as well as other methods. Many users use more than one fertility awareness method. For more information on this method, contact Sex Sense.

***** Lactational Amenorrhea Method is considered an excellent form of birth control, if all conditions are followed. For more information on this method, contact Sex Sense.


Revised March 2018