Can Withdrawal be an Effective Birth Control Method?

Jul 24, 2009
For many years specialists were dubious about withdrawal method, considering it far less effective than such birth control methods as condoms. However, the recent study published in the June issue of the journal Contraception says that many experts might underestimate withdrawal method for preventing unwanted pregnancy.

The scientists at the Guttmacher Institute claim that according to the results of their study withdrawal can be considered as effective as condom for birth control. According to the findings, around 4 percent of couples, who continuously use the withdrawal method, will become pregnant compared to 2 percent of couples, who use condoms to prevent pregnancy. Scientists also say that the failure rate of a "typical use" of pullout method is around 18 percent, while for the condom the rate is almost 17 percent. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the failure rates for such methods as IUD is 0,8 percent, while for the birth control pill is 5 percent.

Withdrawal works by removing the penis from the vagina during the intercourse shortly before the ejaculation to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus. Withdrawal does not protect a person from STD's as for example, condoms. It is often advised to use other forms of birth control in addition to withdrawal to increase its effectiveness.

Rachel K. Jones, the leading author of the study and her colleagues said that withdrawal method should be considered as "legitimate" birth control method as condoms and diaphragms. These birth control methods are widely used and are better than nothing since they provide nearly the same protection against pregnancy as condom.

Scientists say that the importance of withdrawal is largely underestimated. In many surveys, participants were less likely to mention their use of withdrawal either as a main or a backup method because they do not consider it as contraception.

Many specialists are skeptical about withdrawal method because they fear that it can lead youngsters to have unprotected sex, increasing their risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Also, it is still not clear whether pre-ejaculate fluid really contains sperm or not. In fact, there is not enough evidence to suggest it.