Comparing contraceptives – the implant vs the condom

WHICH contraceptive method is right for you? We're continuing our compare and contrast of the various methods using information from the National Family Planning Board. Here's the implant vs the condom.


99 per cent effective

The implant is a long-acting reversible contraceptive. Implants are small plastic rods or capsules, each about the size of a matchstick, that protect against unplanned pregnancies for up to five years. They are placed just under the skin on the inside of a woman's upper arm by a doctor.

How it works

Implants release progestin in the woman's body on a daily basis. Progestin suppresses ovulation so that pregnancy cannot occur. It does not, however, protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


The implant is 99 per cent effective. This means that 99 of every 100 women using the implant will not become pregnant.


Lasts for up to five years – so no daily or monthly regimen

Low dose of hormones

Some women experience lighter and less painful periods

It can be used while breastfeeding

Side effects

It may cause spotting or irregular periods for the first few days/weeks

It may cause changes in weight

It may cause pain or itching around the application site

It may cause abdominal pain.


79 per cent effective (female); 88 per cent effective (male)

The female condom is similar to the male condom. It is a thin rubber or latex sheath that creates a barrier for bodily fluids (ejaculation/discharge). The difference between the male and female condom is that the female condom is inserted in the vagina, as opposed to covering the penis.

How it works

The female condom is inserted into the vagina and it covers the opening of the cervix as well as the walls and opening of the vagina. The condom blocks sperm from entering the vagina and going through the cervix. It also protects both the vagina and the penis from STIs (if present) from each partner.

The male condom covers the penis and prevents fluids (ejaculation/discharge) from coming in contact with each other. The "nipple" part of the condom is a reservoir which collects the semen after ejaculation.


The male condom is 88 per cent effective. This means that 88 of every 100 women whose partners use male condoms over the first year will not become pregnant.

The female condom is 79 per cent effective. This means that 79 of every 100 women who use female condoms over the first year will not become pregnant.



*Easy to use, with some practice


*A variety of brands, sizes, colours, textures, and flavours. There are also non-latex options for people who have allergic reaction to latex (male)

*The only method to protect against both unplanned pregnancies and STIs.

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