Types of emergency contraception

The different types of emergency contraception

There is a number of different emergency contraception options available:

The intrauterine device (IUD) 

The intrauterine device (IUD) which is suitable for emergency contraception is a Copper-T IUD. This 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 . It’s important to note that its use is restricted by its availability and the need to be inserted by a specifically trained healthcare professional, which will require booking an appointment.

Oral emergency contraception 

Oral emergency contraception is also known as the emergency contraceptive pill , or more commonly as the “morning after pill.” This is because they are best taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

There are two types of oral emergency contraceptives available from pharmacies – the first type contains clevonorgestrel – the other type contains ulipristal acetate (ellaOne®)

Oral emergency contraceptive pills work by postponing or inhibiting ovulation, so that no egg is released. If it is, and the sperm meets the egg, this is when you can get pregnant.

Available in pharmacies

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, such as a split condom. The pharmacist or healthcare professional will be able to advise which option is most suitable for you.