What types of contraception are vegan?

Deciding on a contraception method can be tricky. For a lot of people, it means weighing up the pros and cons, thinking about how convenient the method is and looking at how well it works. If you’re vegan, you might also want to think about how vegan-friendly each method is, so you can find contraception that fits with your values.

There are different ways of living a vegan lifestyle and following vegan beliefs. Some people decide to avoid all animal ingredients. Other people will aim to avoid animal products as much as is practical and possible. Contraception might be an area where convenience, safety and side effects are more important to you than finding a vegan option.

However you choose to approach your decision, our guide to vegan-friendly contraception is here to help.

All prescription medications will have been tested on animals. If being cruelty-free is important to you, we’ve also listed vegan options that will not have been tested on animals.

Non-vegan ingredients

The combined pill and progestogen only pill are some of the most common methods of contraception. But, they’re not strictly vegan. Every type of contraceptive pill available in the UK contains lactose. Lactose is an ingredient that comes from cow’s milk.

Magnesium stearate is another non-vegan ingredient found in several types of contraceptive pill. It often comes from animal sources, like meat, butter or eggs. It’s not an active ingredient, so it can be hard to find out if it’s in a pill or not. You might need to check the patient information leaflet for a full list of ingredients.

Methods without lactose

Other methods of hormonal contraception do not have any animal-based ingredients in them. For example, none of these methods contains any lactose:

  • contraceptive patch

  • injectable contraception

  • contraceptive implant

  • vaginal ring

  • hormonal coil

Cruelty-free and vegan methods

Methods that you can get without a prescription are less likely to have been tested on animals. And these methods are all available in a vegan-friendly version. Check the packaging to be sure about the different brands available.

  • condoms - the most common type of condoms are made of latex, but these often include casein, another dairy product. So look out for brands labelled vegan.

  • diaphragm - this is a barrier method, and the most common version available now is made from silicone. This will be vegan-friendly as long as you use a vegan spermicide with it.

  • non-hormonal coil - as this has not got any hormones in it, none of the ingredients are animal-based or have been tested on animals

  • natural family planning - as this does not use any medication or products, it’s entirely vegan

  • sterilisation or vasectomy - if you’re sure you don’t want to have children in the future, you might want to explore these surgical options

Written by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Last updated at: 02 February 2024
Published on: 09 May 2023