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January 22, 1982

Spermicides and Birth Defects

JAMA. 1982;247(4):462. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320290012014

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To the Editor.—  In the article by Jick et al (1981;245:1329), spermicides were implicated in birth defects. I suggest that it is the method of use, and not the spermicides themselves, that may be implicated in the production of birth defects.Many women use spermicides carefully during the days around ovulation, but not so carefully when they think they are "safe." Conceptions are therefore more likely to occur at some less than optimum time. If sperm are deposited in the Fallopian tubes several days before ovulation, they are approaching nonviability when the ovum appears; or if the sperm do not appear in the tubes until 11 hours after ovulation, the ovum is almost gone. Either way, the risk of blighted ova, increased miscarriages, and increased malformations is raised by avoiding the optimum time to conceive. There is ample literature on this point in connection with the use of the rhythm