A-Z List | Accessible Info | Careers | Contact Us

revised Friday February 17 2023
healthy sexuality
Birth Control Methods

Vaginal Contraceptive Film (VCF)

Vaginal Contraceptive Film (VCF) is a square piece of thin film that releases a spermicide.

VCF prevents pregnancy by killing sperm and blocking the opening of the cervix, which stops sperm from entering the uterus.

How to Use VCF

How to Use VCFYou can buy VCF at a drug store without a prescription.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the package insert.

Insert VCF between 15 minutes and 1 hour before having intercourse. If you don’t have sex within one hour of inserting VCF, insert another film.

Use one VCF for each act of intercourse.


What to Do

Step 1

  • Make sure your fingers are thoroughly dry.

Step 2

  • Remove one film from the package.

Step 3

  • Fold the film in half and place it you’re your fingertip.
Step 4
  • Slide your finger - covered with the VCF film -into your vagina as far as it can go. The film should rest on or near your cervix (at the top end of your vagina).

VCF doesn’t require an applicator and will wash away with your natural vaginal fluids.



Used alone, VCF is approximately 71% effective in preventing pregnancy. This means that 29 out of 100 women using it for one year will get pregnant.*

Using VCF with another contraceptive method such as condoms will give you better protection against pregnancy. Out of 100 women who use spermicide and condoms together, 98 will not get pregnant.*

Condoms also help in preventing sexually transmitted infections.

* source: The Mayo Clinic


Advantages & Disadvantages



  • It starts working immediately after you put it in.
  • It doesn't cause any changes to your body.
  • It's discreet.
  • You don't need to see a doctor to get it.
  • You use it only when you need to.
  • It rarely causes vaginal or penile irritation.
  • It's not as messy as spermicide foams or jellies.
  • Doesn't protect against sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.
  • It might irritate your vagina.
  • You have to put it in every time you have sex.
  • You need to feel comfortable putting it in your vagina.
  • You can't use it if you or your partner is allergic to spermicide.

Cautions & Things to Consider

VCF Doesn’t Protect Against STIs

VCF won’t protect you or your partner from STIs including HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B.  Using VCF and condoms at the same time can reduce your chances of getting an STI, including HIV/AIDS.

Using VCF Properly

This method requires a bit of practice, and you need to feel comfortable with your body to insert it properly.


Since sperm is present in the pre-ejaculate (pre-cum), your partner’s penis should not come in contact with your vagina before you insert a piece of VCF.

Timing is very important: to be effective, VCF must be inserted between 15 minutes and 1 hour before having intercourse.

Involving Your Partner

Your partner can insert a piece of VCF into your vagina. Do not, however, place the film on the tip of the penis to insert. This doesn’t give the film enough time to dissolve and the film might not reach your cervix.

Side Effects

Rare side effects may include:

  • itching
  • burning when you urinate
  • a slight inflammation of the vagina
  • pain
  • increased white discharge
Stop using VCF if you feel any pain or discomfort. Contact your doctor if any pain or irritation continues.

[ Birth Control Home ]

Health Topics A-Z | Information for Professionals | Information for Workplaces
| School Corner | Employment/Volunteer Opportunities | Clinics, Classes and Events | Resources & Factsheets | Translated Information | About Public Health | Contact Us | Public Health Home Page


Revised: Friday February 17 2023

Privacy Service Commitment

Smaller Text Larger Text