Female condoms, also called internal condoms by many, are harder to find than male (external) condoms, but why? The only brand of female condom that has been Heath Canada approved is the FC2 Female Condom. You can purchase them with some online retailors, receive them from health clinics, or buy them at some drugstores and adult stores.
How it Started
The female condom was invented by Lasse Hessel, an internationally well-known Danish inventor of health-related products. He heard Danish gynecologist Fritz Fuchs speak about the new epidemic of AIDS, and the barriers women faced in protecting themselves. At this time, Fuchs challenged Hessel to develop a female condom. That same day he made one out of the palms of hospital gloves ironed together. The prototype was born.
The Female Health Company holds patents for the most widespread form of the internal condom, the FC2, which is the only form of the Female Condom approved by the Health Canada (HC). The Female Health Company shifted their focus from the North American market to the Global public sector. In 2007 the design and the material which gave us the FC2 Female Condom of today was completed.
Classes of Medical Devices
One of the biggest hurdles the Female Condom has had to face in the Canadian market is the Health Canada regulations associated with the classification of the device. All condoms are considered medical devices so they can be controlled in their testing and distribution. Different devices have different classes they fall under with Health Canada. The class states what testing needs to be done, rules around distribution, etc. Male condoms are a Class II which allows them easier accessibility by you, the consumer. Female Condoms are deemed a Class III, which means they are more stringent in their regulations. This is why you cannot buy them on Amazon as they will not sell Class III items.
As with all forms of contraception, there are many stigmas attached. Some stigmas and misinformation around the Female Condoms include partner mistrust, the perceptions of promiscuity if one is prepared for a sexual encounter, a lack of spontaneity, a decrease in sensation, discomfort, lack of knowledge, technical difficulties for insertion, inconvenience, religious or cultural stigma, and cost. But many of these factors have also been associated with the male condom as well. What it truly comes down to is educating people. And recognizing that different cultures and societies have unique barriers to overcome the stigmas around sexual health.
The intent is to see the promotion and re-introduction of more Female Condoms into the Canadian health and retail market. This will largely depend on education and outreach. The Female Condom offers choice and control of one’s sexual health. And this is a huge selling point for the Female Condom. The more freedom and choice one has, the more apt one is to use products available for sexual health.
Although they pose to be difficult to find at times, FC2 Female Condoms are available to purchase in and across Canada. PAMCO Distributing Inc. promotes sexual health and is the master distributor of the FC2 female condom in Canada. They are available to purchase online for retail and wholesale customers. Pamco Distributing also works with Not-for-Profit government agencies to ensure that FC2 female condoms are available for individuals who require them.
In addition to the FC2 Female condom, Pamco Distributing also supplies male condoms, condom dispensers, personal lubricants, educational materials, and Outreach and Promotional products. Pamco Distributing also offers a service that allows you to design your own custom condom packaging, which allows companies, programs, and organizations to provide their own custom condoms.
Since the redesign of the female condom in late 2000’s, the global market has increased sales for the FC2 female condom. Based on the regulations that have been imposed on Female Condom suppliers by Health Canada, there has been more challenges to overcome for distribution and easy access.
Female condoms are a great birth control option; they are easy to use and help provide protection against sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. The FC2 Female Condom is also a great option for those who have latex sensitivities and allergies.