After three successful years in the United States and Europe, the female condom has made it to Israel, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. It is currently the only female-controlled contraceptive method that protects from sexually transmitted diseases.
"The most significant feature offered by the new condom is the complete and exclusive control that it gives women over the use of protection during sex, without being dependent on the man's consent," Women's Health in the Community Chairwoman Dr. Noga Porat said.
An early version of the contraceptive was approved for distribution in US in 1993, and was known for the squeaky noise it made during intercourse. Despite marketing efforts, it failed to become popular and eventually disappeared from the shelves, partly because it was awkward to use, but also because it was quite expensive – roughly $4 for a single condom.
In 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a modern version. Unlike the male contraceptive, which is made of latex, the female condom is made of Nitrile rubber, which warms up during use. The 17-cm sheath can be inserted up to hours prior to intercourse, and is said to offer better protection from STDs due to its coverage of the user's outer genitals.
The contraceptive is marketed in Israel under the label La Luna, and is sold in pharmacies for NIS 55 ($14.5) for a three-pack.
Studies done in recent years show that the female contraceptive that is most popular among Israeli women is the birth control pill, followed by the male condom and the intrauterine device. IUD use is more common among married women than those who are single, while the opposite is true for male condoms.