Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Temporary use of condoms

21 November, 2018

Question:

Hello,

I am currently 24 years old and married. My husband and I have received rabbinic permission for contraception while I complete my academic program, which is challenging and time-sensitive. We plan to start trying for a pregnancy in about six months.

My question is in regards to contraception. I am currently on the contraceptive pill, Zoely, before this I was on microgynon and was experiencing breakthrough bleeding. Since being on Zoely for the last 1.5 years I have experienced vaginal dryness and dyspaurenia, as well as a loss of libido. I am not comfortable being on hormonal contraception and would ideally want to use the Fertility Awareness Method covering with condoms on my fertile days. Although, given that at the start of our marriage we were not planning to fall pregnant straight away, I knew that the OCP was a more reliable method.

Hoping to BH start trying to fall pregnant in 6 months time, I want to ensure that my cycles are regulated naturally, that I am synthetic hormone free and that I am able to monitor my own cycles to best ensure fertility. In order to do this I would like to start using the FAM but this will require the use of a condom for every time we have sex for at least the first few months/until my cycles are regulated, and then on only my fertile days until mid next year.

I have considered the diaphragm; however, I experience painful sex already due to vaginal dryness and an overactive pelvic floor and I am anxious to therefore use this form. As well, it is not as reliable as condom use and I would not be willing to risk falling pregnant within the next 6 months.

Is there a halachic ground to use condoms temporarily (6 months) where the ultimate aim of use is to ensure optimal fertility when the time comes?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.


Answer:

We appreciate the sensitive nature of this question.

We are sorry to hear of your difficulties with contraceptive pills. Condoms are almost never permissible. In your case, the best option would likely be the diaphragm with spermicide. When fitted and used correctly, its efficacy is greater than that of the condom. Since high efficacy is of great concern to you, you may wish to reconsider relying only on FAM for most of the month.

Going off the pill should help relieve your vaginal dryness, and you can also consider using lubricants. An overactive pelvic floor should be evaluated and treated with urogynecological physiotherapy, regardless of your contraceptive plans. If necessary, you could slightly delay going off the pill until this has been addressed.

Please write back with any further questions.


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