I need emergency contraception

Emergency contraception is for people who have had unprotected sex or who have been sexually assaulted. Unprotected sex includes sex with a damaged condom or a condom that has slipped off during sex. You can use emergency contraception after unprotected sex, a condom accident or if you think your current method has failed to reduce your risk of getting pregnant.

What options do i have?

There are three options: the emergency IUD (also known as the “copper coil”) and two emergency contraceptive pills (also known as “morning after pills”) called Levonelle and ellaOne. The IUD is the most effective method and is 99.9% effective.

When should I take it?

As soon as possible. The IUD is most effective and can be used up to five days after unprotected sex or up to five days after ovulation (when you release an egg). Your doctor or nurse will help you calculate this. Levonelle can be used up to 3 days after unprotected sex and ellaOne can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

The earlier you take these, the better chance you have of preventing an unwanted pregnancy. However, ellaOne and Levonelle delay ovulation so you could still get pregnant after you take the pill if you don’t use another form of contraception.

Where can I get it?

All three options are always available free at sexual health clinics and community contraception clinics. Book an appointment online now.

IUD Levonelle ellaOne
Free and can be fitted at most sexual health clinics, community contraception clinics, and some GP surgeries. If you can, it’s best to call and double check that someone can fit your IUD before turning up. Free in all sexual health clinics, community contraception clinics, most NHS walk-in centres and minor injury units (England only), most GP surgeries, and some hospital A&E departments and young people’s clinics like Brook. Some pharmacies may charge. Free on prescription from your GP, sexual health clinic or community contraception clinic. You can also buy it in some pharmacies if you’re over 18.

If you live in one of the Virgin Care service areas, you can type your postcode below to find your nearest source of emergency contraceptive pill. We run free sexual health services in Bury, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, Oldham, Rochdale, Surrey and Teesside. You can also have an emergency IUD fitted at our sexual health clinics – please call us to book a fast track appointment or book online now.

If there isn’t a Virgin Care service near you, use the NHS Clinic Finder tool to find your nearest service. If this is out of hours, find your nearest A&E.

Need contraception?

What can I expect to happen?

If you’re having an IUD fitted, a trained medical professional will insert a small t-shaped device (the IUD) into your uterus (womb).

If you would like one of the pill options, you will be asked some questions and given a prescription. If you attend a sexual health clinic, you will be given the  emergency contraception there and then and will not be given a prescription. If you’re buying over the counter from a pharmacy, you won’t need a prescription.

Is there anything else I should know?

Emergency contraception does not protect against STIs, so make sure to use a condom to protect yourself if you have sex. Emergency contraception do not cause an abortion and they have no serious side effects. If you choose to use an IUD, you may feel some discomfort when it is first fitted but painkillers should help. You can continue using the IUD as your ongoing contraception method.

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