Most people are aware of the “Morning after Pill” as a contingency plan for contraception. However, few are aware of the more effectual intrauterine device known as the IUD can be used for an emergency contraceptive.
The lack of knowledge of how effective the IUD is for emergency contraception in the United States is shocking. A recent analysis of 40 plus studies revealed that pregnancy can be prevented if an IUD is inserted as long as five days following intercourse where no protection was used. The IUD is so highly reliable, that 999 out 1,000 uses prevented pregnancy.
In contrast, couples choosing the “Morning after Pill” as their method of emergency contraception are ten to thirty times more likely to incur a pregnancy. The rate of pregnancy occurrence will vary according to which emergency contraception pill is used.
The Journal of Human Reproduction authors report that IUDs are seldom recommended, in the U.S. and other countries, as an emergency contraceptive. The authors point out that 85% of doctors in the State of California do not mention IUDs as a form of emergency contraception.
Two huge factors for recommending the “Morning after Pills” over the IUD are their lower price and easy accessibility. The morning after pills range from $10 to $70 dollars and no doctor’s appointment is needed. Planned Parenthood lists the price of IUDs in excess of $500. Additionally, in order to have access to an IUD, one must make two doctors’ appointments.
One of the biggest factors that the IUD is not recommended for an emergency contraceptive, especially for women who plan to have children in the near future is the length of time the IUD should be used. The IUD to be cost effect should remain in the place for many years. An IUD will prevent pregnancy for up to a decade or longer. Many women of child-bearing age aren’t interested in such a semi-permanent solution.
Another reason that an IUD is not a favorite option for emergency birth control is the publicity surround a law suited launched in the 1970s against the manufacturers of the inadequately engineered Dalkon Shiled IUD. This publicity has contributed to the tarnished image of the IUD.
While most women today, who would consider using the IUD, may have been too young to remember or be aware of this issue, the IUD has since been made considerably safer. Currently, the number of US female population of child-bearing age using an IUDs is 5%.
The country which has shown the most interest and highest use of the IUD is China. It has been reported by the authors that 43 out of every 100 women in China using some type of contraception, actually use an IUD.
Guttmacher Institute reports that nearly one half of U.S. pregnancies are not planned. Despite the drawbacks for using the IUD as an emergency contraceptive, it remains true that it is the most reliable and effectual emergency contraceptive.