Features of the SILCS Diaphragm
Comfortable and confident protection for women
Contraceptive diaphragms have been available for nearly a century. Diaphragms provide safe, user-initiated protection from unintended pregnancy. Like other barrier methods, effectiveness depends on consistent and correct use. Diaphragms provide nonhormonal contraceptive protection, with few if any side effects. Almost all women can use a diaphragm.
A diaphragm is a latex or silicone cup with a firm, flexible rim and shallow dome. It is inserted into the vagina before sex to cover the cervix. Contraceptive gel is applied to the dome before insertion to increase effectiveness. The diaphragm helps prevent pregnancy by blocking sperm from entering the cervix, contraceptive gel provides secondary protection by stopping sperm from moving. The diaphragm must be worn for at least six hours after sex. Diaphragms are reusable and can be used up to two years, or perhaps longer.
The SILCS Diaphragm is a single-size, contoured cervical barrier designed to improve ease of use and delivery over traditional diaphragms. SILCS could improve reproductive health by expanding women’s protection options to include a nonhormonal, reusable, contraceptive barrier method. With its single-size design, SILCS should be easier to provide because a pelvic exam is not required, and it will be simpler to supply than multi-size diaphragms.
SILCS is made from silicone and is more durable than latex diaphragms. The rim contains a nylon spring that compresses easily during insertion and removal. The contoured spring is anatomically shaped and designed to be comfortable. User-centered design resulted in key features that improve acceptability and ease of use: