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November 5, 1982

Are Spermicides Teratogenic?

Author Affiliations

From the Epidemiology and Biometry Research Program, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1982;248(17):2148-2151. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330170052027

Recent evidence suggests that spermicides could be teratogenic. In this study, pregnant women provided data at their first prenatal visit on spermicide and other contraceptive exposures in each of the preceding 12 months. Data on malformations in their offspring were obtained by abstracting medical records. Among women practicing contraception before the last menstrual period but not after, the malformation rate in the offspring of spermicide users was no higher than in users of other methods. The same was true of women who continued to practice contraception after the last menstrual period. When malformations were examined by organ system and by individual defect, spermicide exposure again was not associated with an increased risk. Comparing spermicides by active ingredient with other methods of contraception revealed no increased risk of malformations for any compound. Controlling for age, time in pregnancy at which exposure data were collected, concentration of spermicides used, and other possible confounding factors did not alter the results. This study finds no association between maternal spermicide exposure before or after the last menstrual period and congenital malformations.

(JAMA 1982;248:2148-2151)