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Home HPV Research HPV Research FDA Committee Recommends New Version of the Female Condom

FDA Committee Recommends New Version of the Female Condom

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An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted unanimously to recommend the agency approve the second-generation female condom.

The female condom is a polyurethane (plastic) pouch that fits inside a woman’s vagina. It has a soft ring on each end. The outer ring stays on the outside of the vagina and partly covers the labia (lips). The inner ring fits on the inside of the vagina, somewhat like a diaphragm, to hold the condom in place. Female condoms compare favorably to the male version as a barrier against many sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Manufactured by the Female Health Company, the devices are the only woman-controlled method of safer sex. Just as birth control pills allowed women unprecedented control over their reproductive status, female condoms offer women a method under their own control that provides effective protection against STIs. Female condoms also have an advantage over male condoms in that they can be inserted anytime prior to having sex.

Along with getting couples used to a new approach to contraception, a stumbling block has been that the first-generation female condom is more expensive than male condoms. The manufacturer says this will largely be mitigated with the FC2 Female Condom, though, due to the advent of new materials that allow for a far more cost-efficient production process.

In December 2008, the FDA’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend approval for the FC2 Female Condom. While this endorsement isn’t binding, approval is expected as FDA usually follows the advice of its committees.

Read more about female condoms on ASHA’s website.


The Female Condom

The female condom is a polyurethane (plastic) pouch that fits inside a woman’s vagina. It has a soft ring on each end. The outer ring stays on the outside of the vagina and partly covers the labia (lips). The inner ring fits inside the vagina, somewhat like a diaphragm, to hold the condom in place.

  • Insert the condom any time before the penis touches the vagina.

  • Add lubricant to the inside of  the condom.

  • Squeeze the inner ring of the condom. Put the inner ring and pouch into the vagina.

  • With your finger, push the inner ring as far into the vagina as it will go. The outer ring stays outside the vagina.

  • Guide the penis into the condom.

  • After sex, remove the condom before standing up. Pull out gently.