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Our glossary

Learn all about contraception, reproductive health & sex. Our glossary explains all terms understandably and neutrally β€” from A to Z.

Pearl Index

The Pearl Index assesses the safety of a contraceptive. The smaller the Pearl index, the safer the contraceptive method.

However, a distinction between the theoretical and the practical Pearl index is important:

  • The theoretical Pearl Index assumes that the method has been used perfectly and without errors.

  • The practical Pearl Index assesses how well the contraceptive method performs in everyday use. Application errors are included.

  • Example for the calculation of the theoretical Pearl Index: If 100 women* use the same contraceptive for one year and three pregnancies occur during this period, the Pearl Index is 3 for the contraceptive used.

* While we speak of women and men, we are aware of the diversity of genders and demand better contraception for all people.