Review Finds IUD More Effective Than Morning-After Pills


The “morning after pill” is usually what people first thing of when it comes to emergency contraception. However, using an IUD for emergency contraception has been found to be even more effective.

In a new review conducted examining 42 studies of IUDs for emergency contraception found that if the IUD was inserted within five days of unprotected sex, they prevented pregnancy more than 999 times out of 1,000. That is a failure rate of less that 0.1%. By contrast, morning after pills have failure rates of 1-3% depending on the type of pill used.

Despite the small failure rate, a new report in the journal of Human Reproduction states that IUDs are rarely offered as an emergency contraception alternative to pills. The report cites a recent California study that found that 85% of providers never recommended the IUD as a method of emergency contraception.

The reasons for this lack of IUD use seem to be multifactorial. IUD insertion requires at least two visits to the health care provider and costs a minimum of $500.00 where morning after pills usually cost between $10-$70 according to Planned Parenthood. IUDs are designed to prevent pregnancy for around 10 years. Many women who seek emergency contraception are not interested in such a long term method of contraception. Therefore, $500 and multiple clinic visits do not make the IUD the most convenient method of emergency contraception.

Another issue cited by researchers for lack of IUD use is that they still suffer a poor safety image problem. While IUDs are much safer today, many compare them to the Dalkon Shield of the 1970’s which led to sepsis in many women due to its poor design.

However, for women who are seeking emergency contraception and wish to also prevent pregnancy for several years, health care providers should recommend the IUD as a safe, reliable method. Inserting the IUD will act as emergency contraception in the moment and as a reliable method of long term contraception after.
Source: Washington Post


Sponsored Links

Related Articles

  • article thumbnail
    How Many Times Can You Take the Morning After Pill?
    The morning after pill, or emergency contraception is designed to use when a woman has unprotected sex or her regular method of contraception fails. Emergency contraception ca…
  • article thumbnail
    How Does Emergency Contraception Work?
    A method to prevent pregnancy when you have an unexpected need is emergency contraception. Emergency contraception can be used up to 120 (5 days) after unprotected intercourse…
  • article thumbnail
    Plan B Pill Effectiveness
    Plan B is a type of emergency contraception that can be used after unprotected sex to help prevent pregnancy. 7 out of 8 women who would have gotten pregnant without using Pla…

Support Groups

For individuals, friends and families who are need to connect during life's challenging times. Share personal experiences, evaluate information and get support in a confidential, caring environment.



The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute the practice of medicine. We encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician or nutritionist if they have any concerns regarding health issues related to diet, personal image and any other topics discussed on this site. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.