Birth Control


Medical providers give you the information you need to make a decision on which birth control method is best for you. If you are uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible to access your choice of birth control at the office — without going to the pharmacy.

There are many types of Birth Control Methods and here’s a list of your choices: 


Barrier Methods:

Male Condoms (up to 98% effective*):

Placed over the man’s penis, condoms prevent pregnancy by stopping sperm from reaching the womb. When used correctly, condoms help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Female Condoms (up to 95% effective*):

This is inserted into the vagina like a diaphragm. The ring at the closed end holds the pouch in the vagina. The ring at the open end stays outside the vaginal opening. It does not protect against STDs or HIV.

Diaphragm (up to 94% effective*):

Inserted into the women’s vagina, diaphragms cover the cervix and prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Diaphragms should be used with a spermicide. The female condom reduces the risk of many STDs.

Cervical Cap (up to 84–91% effective*):

Like diaphragms, cervical caps are inserted into the woman’s vagina to cover the cervix and prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Cervical caps should be used with a spermicide. They do not protect against STDs or HIV.

IUD (Intrauterine Devices)(up to 99% effective*):

An IUD is a small, T-shaped plastic piece, which contains either copper or a hormone that prevents pregnancy. An IUD does not protect against STDs or HIV.

Spermicides (when used with another method, up to 94% effective*):

Spermicides are contraceptive foams, jellies, creams, films, and suppositories that contain chemical spermicides. When inserted in the vagina, they prevent pregnancy by killing the sperm before it enters the uterus. Spermicides are not recommended to be used alone. They do not protect against STDs or HIV.

Hormonal Methods:

Depo-Provera (up to 99% effective*):

A birth control shot, administered every 3 months, that contains the hormone progestin. The hormone keeps the ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens the cervical mucus, which keeps the sperm from joining with the egg. The result is—no pregnancy. This does not protect against STDs or HIV.

Birth Control Pill (up to 99% effective*):

Birth control pills—or oral contraceptives—contain hormones that prevent the releasing of an egg. This prevents the sperm from joining with the egg. This method does not protect against STDs or HIV.

Nexplanon (99% effective*):

Flexible rod, placed under skin on upper arm. Lasts for 3 years and can be taken out by a medical professional soon, if desired. This does not protect against STDs.

Transdermal Patch (Ortho Evra)(up to 99% effective*):

The patch is a two-inch beige-colored square that releases hormones at a slow, constant rate. Each week for three weeks, you place a patch on one of four recommended areas. In the fourth week, you do not wear a patch. This does not protect against STDs or HIV.

NuvaRing (up to 99% effective*):

This device is a flexible plastic ring inserted into the vagina, just as you would a tampon. Hormones are slowly released until the ring is removed three weeks later. You go without it for a week, then start the cycle over again with a new ring. The ring does not protect against STDs or HIV.

 *if used properly each time.

 Additional Methods:

Abstinence (only method that is 100% effective):

Abstinence—not engaging in sexual play. Pregnancy cannot happen if sperm is kept out of the vagina. No medical or hormonal side effects.


A woman may undergo sterilization, which involves surgery to seal off the fallopian tubes (tubal ligation). In male sterilization, or vasectomy, the tubes that carry sperm are sealed, tied, or cut.

(These services are not provided by our Family Planning Providers—this requires referral to another provider).

Fertilization Awareness Method (Rhythm Method):

Periodic abstinence methods consist of avoiding sex during the women’s fertile period. This is accomplished by using the calendar, basal body temperature, and/or cervical mucus methods.

Outercourse (NEARLY 100% effective):

Outercourse is sex play without vaginal intercourse. Pregnancy cannot happen if sperm is kept out of the vagina. This is not a recommended birth control method.

Emergency Contraception (EC):

EC is 75-89% effective if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, but it can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after. The success rate for preventing pregnancy drops significantly with each passing day. EC works by preventing the egg from implanting in the wall of the uterus. EC will not interfere with an established pregnancy and does not protect against STDs or HIV.  

Call the health center nearest you for an appointment today!


A part of Finger Lakes Community Health. Supported by Title X Grant Funding.