What is it? An IUD - also known as a Coil - is a small plastic and copper device, usually shaped like a 'T', which is fitted into a woman's uterus by a doctor using a simple procedure. It works by preventing an egg from settling in the womb. An IUD can stay in place for five years - sometimes for 10. It can also be used as an emergency method of contraception within five days of unprotected sex. The doctor who fits the device should show you how to check it by feeling for the threads.
Advantages: You don’t need to think about it once it is in place and it lasts for a long time (5 - 10 years, although it can be taken out sooner). It does not interrupt sex and is effective immediately.
Considerations: Offers no protection from sexually transmitted infections/HIV/AIDS. There is a higher risk of infection for women with more than one partner. It may cause heavier, more painful periods. There is a very small risk of ectopic pregnancy (where a pregnancy develops outside of the uterus) if the IUD fails.
Available from? It must be fitted by a doctor. This can be done by your GP, at a family planning clinic or at a Marie Stopes International (MSI) centre.
How effective? 98%-99%. Less than two women in 100 will get pregnant over five years.
Intrauterine device (IUD) (Gynefix)
What is it? Gynefix works like a regular IUD but has a flexible row of copper beads instead of a rigid frame. It’s attached to the uterus wall by a fine nylon thread, which makes it less likely to be expelled by the body.
Considerations: Offers no protection from sexually transmitted infections/HIV/AIDS. There is a higher risk of infection for women with more than one partner.
Available from? It must be fitted by a doctor. This can be done by your GP or at a family planning clinic. Gynefix is not currently available at Marie Stopes International centres.
How effective? More than 99%.