A number of female condom products are currently available through public and private markets or are under development.
Female Health Company FC1® and FC2®
The FC1® was the first female condom to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Made of polyurethane, the FC1® is a sheath with flexible rings on each end to aid insertion and hold the condom in place. The FC2® differs only in material—synthethic latex called nitrile—which makes it less costly and reportedly less noisy than its predecessor. The FC2® was approved by the WHO in 2006, and in March 2009 it received regulatory approval from the FDA.
VA w.o.w.® Feminine Condom
The VA w.o.w.® Feminine Condom (Reddy Female Condom) is manufactured by Medtech Products Ltd. This latex condom has a pouch attached to its rounded triangular opening and a sponge to secure it inside a woman’s vagina. It is available through the private sector in several countries, including South Africa, Brazil, and India. The VA w.o.w.® Feminine Condom recently received the CE mark, a certification that it meets European Union consumer health requirements. It is also under review by the WHO.
Natural Sensation Panty Condom®
The Natural Sensation Panty Condom® is made of reusable cotton and nylon. It contains a replaceable pantyliner made of thin synthetic resin that stretches like a male condom. The product is available in parts of South America and Europe, and has the CE mark. However, it has not received FDA or WHO approval.
Silk Parasol Female Panty Condom
Similar to the Natural Sensation Panty Condom, the Silk Parasol Female Panty Condom is designed to be worn like an undergarment, providing a complete barrier both internally and externally. The product is made of biodegradable latex and is reusable with refill condoms. The Silk Parasol Company is seeking funding to begin clinical trials.
The Woman’s Condom
The Woman’s Condom, developmed by PATH, is still in development. The Woman’s Condom is a polyurethane pouch that is partially enclosed in a capsule to aid insertion. The capsule dissolves in the vagina which releases the pouch, and the condom is then secured in the woman by foam pads. The design of the Woman’s Condom was made in consultation with women and couples to identify features that promoted comfort and ease of use. Production of the Woman’s Condom moved to China in 2008, and PATH is undertaking clinical trials for product registration in the country. PATH is also planning U.S. clinical trials that will lead to a USFDA application for market approval, in addition to pursuing the CE mark and WHO clearance for bulk purchasing by UN agencies.