Pregnancy with Condom Use

Posted by on Nov 30, 2015 in Birth Control |

The condom has a much longer history than many people realize, dating back for centuries in cultures around the globe. Made from different substances and with different designs, they were often intended not to prevent pregnancy (an issue which was most often viewed as the responsibility of the female), but to protect the wearer from contracting disease.
In ancient China, condoms were made of intestines or oiled silk paper; in Japan they were constructed of animal horn or tortoise shell; in Italy men wore linen sheaths dipped in chemicals and held onto the head of the penis with the use of a ribbon. The first recorded literature on the subject appears in Italy from the 1500s, after which the subject was widely treated in European writings. It appears that the European condoms were most often made from linen or animal intestines, and used primarily as protection against syphilis, a fatal disease for most who contracted it.
When the condom began to take a place as regular contraceptive practice in the 1600s, officials of the Catholic Church condemned their use as an immoral practice, contravening God’s will by preventing conception. Because of their expense, as well as lack of education, condoms were the purview of the upper classes for several centuries, but they began to be available to lower classes in some countries in the 1800s. Still, the stigma attached to the subject affected the education being offered. Many people viewed sexually transmitted diseases as just punishment for promiscuous behavior, and many hospitals would even decline to treat patients with sexually transmitted diseases.
Controversy continues to cling to the condom, but it is widely accepted and widely available in today’s First World countries. When used properly every time, the condom is ninety-eight percent effective in preventing pregnancy. In actual practice, due to improper storage and resulting breakage, or (perhaps most commonly) to inconsistent use, the failure rate is somewhere between ten and fifteen percent. The same rates of success apply to success in preventing transmission of disease, and in both cases the most important factor is the user’s consistency in using the condom properly.

In addition to the long-standing availability of male condoms, the relatively new female condom offers an alternative method of barrier-based birth control. Constructed to provide a barrier within the vagina and prevent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases as well as pregnancy, although the item has not widely caught on. It does provide a viable option for women whose partners decline to wear a condom, and is perhaps the only female-controlled device that provides a barrier to disease transmission. Many other forms of birth control are available to women, including the birth control pill and birth control shot, but none of these offer any protection from the transmission of disease.
When it comes to condom use, either male or female, the most common cause of failure is the choice not to use one. Whether because of the inconvenience of pausing to put one on, or because a condom isn’t readily available when needed, or because it impedes the sensations of intercourse, or because the couple doesn’t believe it to be a risky time of the month, the majority of pregnancies among condom users result from inconsistent use. Less common causes include the condom coming off during or after intercourse, breakage of the condom, or sabotage. If one partner wants to have a child, small pin-pricks in the condom can undermine its effectiveness without the knowledge of the other partner. For the most part, however, condoms serve the purpose for which they are made, so long as the couple in question uses them consistently.