Story: Contraception and sterilisation

Sheep-intestine condom (2nd of 6)

Sheep-intestine condom

The use of condoms has a long history. About 3,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians used linen sheaths to protect against disease. Around the 1700s condoms were made from animal intestines. This one from the 1990s was made in the United States from New Zealand sheep intestines. Sheep-intestine condoms have been produced by the company since 1932. They block the passage of sperm, but are not recommended for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, as their pores are large enough to allow infectious agents through.

Using this item

Family Planning, Dame Margaret Sparrow Collection
Photograph by Rachel Leatham

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How to cite this page:

Jane Tolerton, 'Contraception and sterilisation - Early 20th-century methods', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/object/26972/sheep-intestine-condom (accessed 1 December 2020)

Story by Jane Tolerton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 7 Dec 2018