Types of emergency contraception

The intrauterine device (IUD) which is suitable for emergency contraception is a Copper-T IUD

Copper-T IUD is considered the most effective emergency contraceptive method and it also provides an ongoing contraceptive solution. However the IUD fitting takes time and involves an invasive and sometimes uncomfortable procedure.

Copper-T IUD can be fitted up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex . However its use is restricted by its availability and the need to be inserted by a specifically trained healthcare professional.

Oral emergency contraception (emergency contraception pills)

Emergency contraceptive pills are commonly known as “morning after pills”, because it is best to take them as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

There are two types of oral emergency contraceptives available from pharmacy – containing either levonorgestrel, or ulipristal acetate (ellaOne®)

The mechanism of action of oral emergency contraception  is to postpone or inhibit ovulation, so that no egg is released.

Oral emergency contraception is available directly from your pharmacist, without a prescription. You can also get emergency contraception from your GP, Family Planning Clinic, walk-in centre, or out of hours services. All oral emergency contraception options consist of one single tablet to be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, or contraceptive failure. The pharmacist or healthcare professional will be able to advise which option is most suitable for you.