What is vaginal contraceptive film (VCF)?


A vaginal contraceptive film (VCF) is a hormone-free super-thin film that is inserted into the vagina, where it dissolves and releases nonoxynol-9, a chemical that kills sperm ( spermicide ). You can buy VCF movies without a prescription. They are designed to be used in all sexual relationships.

You may already be familiar with nonoxynol-9, as it is also available in jellies, creams, tablets, suppositories, and foams. Some condoms are even covered with spermicide. Although its failure rates are high compared to other available methods, VCF is another option to consider when weighing contraceptive options.

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Once inserted, the vaginal contraceptive film absorbs vaginal secretions and dissolves into a thick gel that acts as a barrier to immobilization of sperm. VCF has been around for over 20 years and is undergoing extensive testing.

In commenting on spermicides in general, the FDA considers them safe and effective in preventing pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the effectiveness of "ideal use" spermicidal methods is 18%, or only 82% in the first year of use.

However, typical rates of spermicide effectiveness by users (those who do not use them constantly or who sometimes forget) are closer to 72%. Therefore, with typical use, 28 out of 100 women will become pregnant within a year using this method alone.

VCF is most effective in preventing pregnancy when used with another backup contraceptive method, such as male and female condoms .

Side effects

The side effects of VCF, if any, are mostly minor. While it is not one of the most effective methods of contraception, it is much more effective than any method and is a safe contraceptive when used consistently and according to the instructions provided.

According to the manufacturer of the vaginal contraceptive film, a small number of VCF users have reported mild irritation or burning in the vagina or penis. However, the fact that VCF uses less active ingredient than other spermicidal forms such as foams and creams means that these side effects are less common than with other variants of nonoxynol-9.

Is this correct for you?

The vaginal contraceptive film has some advantages and disadvantages that you should know. They have both medical and practical implications.


  • Hormone-free (suitable for those who are sensitive to contraceptives containing estrogen and progestin )

  • Allows spontaneity (lasts three hours after installation)

  • Helps improve the effectiveness of pregnancy prevention when used with a condom.

  • Neither partner can feel

  • Easy to use, does not get dirty or stain

  • Small (2 "square) – Sold in individually sealed bags.

  • Widely available without a prescription in pharmacies and online.


  • It does not protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

  • Frequent consumption of VCF or other foods that contain nonoxynol-9 can increase vaginal irritation, which can increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Spermicidal methods (when used alone) have a higher failure rate than many other contraceptive methods.

Remember, the only form of birth control that is effective in preventing STDs is a condom.

How to use it

The VCF must be manually inserted into the vagina. It dissolves almost immediately after administration. There is nothing to erase.

You or your partner can insert the VCF film, but it is important to place it deep enough into the vagina so that it touches the cervix . You need to make sure that you or your partner can point your finger at the cervix so that it will lift properly.

VCF must be injected at least 15 minutes before intercourse for it to completely dissolve and work effectively.

Every time you have sex, you must use a new film. Once installed, it will provide protection against pregnancy for up to three hours. The VCF has a useful life of five years.

Get the word of drug information

VCF films are just one of many ways to prevent pregnancy . Finding the right one for you may require that you and your partner assess your wants and needs, and that your healthcare professional consider any potential safety concerns. Whatever you choose, make sure you know how to use it correctly for maximum efficiency.

Frequently asked questions

  • Vaginal Contraceptive Film (VCF) is a form of non-hormonal birth control that consists of a translucent strip of material impregnated with nonoxynol-9 (a highly effective spermicide). Placed high in the vagina as close to the cervix as possible, the film quickly dissolves into the protective gel.

  • When used optimally, meaning it is used correctly with every episode of vaginal sex , Vaginal Contraceptive Film (FVC) is 82% effective. This means that if VCF is used as the sole contraceptive method, 18 out of 100 women will become pregnant within a year.

  • According to the manufacturer, the vaginal contraceptive film will last up to three hours. If three hours have passed since applying the film, you will need to use another one. You will also need to apply a new film after each male ejaculation .

  • To correctly apply the vaginal contraceptive film:

    • Make sure your hands are clean and dry.
    • Remove an elongated strip of film from the packaging.
    • Fold the strip between your fingers in a "U" shape.
    • Insert the strip into the vagina so that it touches the cervix.
    • Wait at least 15 minutes before having sex.

  • Since vaginal contraceptive film contains less nonxoinol-9 than foams, gels, and other spermicidal products (28%), it is less likely to cause side effects. A mild irritation or burning sensation in the vagina or penis has been reported.

  • No. In fact, frequent use of nonoxynol-9 can erode the delicate tissues of the vagina and therefore increase the risk of contracting HIV . Although a vaginal contraceptive film can help prevent pregnancy, the best way to avoid STDs is to use a condom .

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