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Contraceptive failure rates in women over 35 years old

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Male methods:

  • condom - the failure rate in women over the age of 35 years is approximately 2.9 per 100 women years (1)
  • vasectomy - the failure rate of a vasectomy is approximately 0.08 per 100 women years (1)

Female methods:

  • barrier methods - when used with a spermicide, barrier methods; the overall failure rate for barrier methods is 2.8 per 100 women years (1)
  • combined oral contraceptive pill - failure rate in women over 35 years is between 0.2-3.0 per 100 women years (1)
  • progestogen only pill - the failure rate is 0-1 per 100 women years (1)
  • copper-containing intrauterine devices - the failure rate is 0.3-2.0 per 100 women years (1)
  • levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system - the failure rate is about 0.2 per 100 women years (1)


  • 1) Family Planning Association. Method failure rates.

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