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Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Emergency Contraception: Copper IUD Use

A good alternative to hormonal methods of emergency contraception is a copper IUD. The IUD may be inserted in the uterus within five days after intercourse. The copper IUD alters the environment inside the uterus, preventing a fertilized egg from implanting.

Advantages

  • It is very effective, with failure rates as low as 0.1 percent.
  • The copper IUD is a good alternative for women who cannot use estrogen for emergency contraception.
  • It can remain inside the uterus for up to 10 years once it's positioned inside the uterus.
  • Fertility returns as soon as the IUD is removed.

Disadvantages

  • The device must be inserted by a health-care provider.
  • This method is not suitable for women who are at risk of or currently infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

Last updated October 1, 2010




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