'Men don't need to know everything': a field trial of a discreet, female-initiated, contraceptive barrier method (FemCap™) among Haitian-American women

Cult Health Sex. 2015;17(7):842-58. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2015.1005672. Epub 2015 Feb 23.


Worldwide, women report the need for safe, non-hormonal, woman-initiated methods of family planning. Cervical barriers provide such technology but are under-researched and under-promoted. In the USA, there are few studies of cervical barriers among women at high unmet need for contraception. A feasibility study of the FemCap™ was conducted among US women of Haitian origin. Participants were heterosexual and seeking to avoid pregnancy. At first visit, participants completed baseline assessments, underwent group counselling and were fitted with FemCap™. Women were asked to insert or use the cap at home. The second visit (2-3 weeks) included an interviewer-administered questionnaire and a focus-group discussion. Participants (n = 20) were Haitian-born (70%), married (55%) and parous (85%). Their mean age was 32.6 years. Seventy percent reported recent unprotected sex. All women inserted the device at home and 9 women used it during intercourse, including 5 without prior partner negotiation. Of 20 women, 11 liked FemCap™ very much or somewhat; 7 considered it 'OK'; 2 disliked it. Best-liked attributes were comfort, discreet wear and reusability. Difficulties with removal abated over time. Qualitative data revealed a high value placed on lack of systemic side effects. Use of FemCap™ was feasible and acceptable, supporting expansion of research, particularly among relevant populations with unmet need.

Keywords: FemCap™; Haitian-American women; cervical cap; contraception; family planning; female barrier methods.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Contraception Behavior / ethnology*
  • Contraceptive Devices, Female*
  • Family Characteristics / ethnology*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Haiti
  • Humans
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States