Since 1977 there have been at least six patents awarded in the United States for a female applied condom, only one of which has made it to market. This condom is produced by the Female Health Company which is based in Chicago. The Female Health Company owns the worldwide rights to the female condom including international patents issued in the U.S., Japan, The European Union, The People's Republic of China, Canada and Australia. In the U.S. and Canada it used to be marketed under the name "Reality" and in the rest of the world under the name "Femidom".
This product is currently being marketed in the US with the name Female Condom.
This condom tends to be difficult to find in shops and when found is very expensive in comparison to normal latex male applied condoms. You can purchase it online through Condomania if either you are unable to find it at your local pharmacy or you are concerned about privacy.
While the FDA says that you can expect a 84% effectiveness rating for the female condom there is some controversy about this with some, such as the Female Health Company, believing the condom is under rated because of an inherent bias towards male applied condoms. With "perfect" usage efficacy may go up to as much as 95%, which fits nicely with the figures for "perfectly" applied male condoms, but this figure should not be relied upon. It should be noted that the condom is relatively new to the market and because it is a new technology the methodology for testing it may not be as complete as that for latex condoms.
As with any medical device the female condom is most appropriately used under the supervision of a doctor and should be used in conjunction with both STD and pregnancy counseling.