This trial was designed to compare the efficiency and acceptability of three different chemical contraceptive products — a gel, a foaming tablet and a cream, and to test the possibilities of a trial carried out entirely by post.
The percentage of volunteers dropping out of the trial at one stage or another was very high; in fact 41% of the volunteers were never heard of again after enrolment. Six hundred and seventy-eight volunteers enrolled and were sent supplies. The value of postal trials would seem to depend on being able to arrange a more adequate follow-up.
No appreciable difference had been found in the overall efficiency or acceptability of the three products used. The pregnancy rates were 37 per 100 years (3.1 per 100 woman months) for the protected groups and 109 per 100 years (9.1 per 100 woman months) for the unprotected group, the former being of the same order as some other trials involving chemical preparations only (Beebe, 1942; Seibels, 1944; Finkelstein, 1958). These pregnancy rates, however, are greater than those of some previous investigations (Finkelstein, Guttmacher & Goldberg, 1954), particularly where the method of contraception was a mechanical one (Stix & Notestein, 1940; Beebe, 1942; Tietze & Gamble, 1944).
Although the overall like/dislike totals are similar, the reasons for dislike vary with each product.
Much interesting material has become available and is being examined as the result of these trials on menstrual periods, coital patterns, birthcontrol habits, impressions about safe period, etc.