IUDs for emergency contraception

Copper IUDs are over 99% effective to prevent pregnancies if inserted within 7 days AFTER unprotected intercourse (for example, when a condom breaks during sex). This is because the copper ions released from the IUD work directly against the sperm and egg and prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. This is not an abortion, because you are not pregnant until an egg has attached to your uterus. Hormonal IUDs (Mirena and Jaydess) are not effective for emergency contraception.



Plan B (morning after pill)

How effective is it?
About 60%. If 100 women have unprotected sex once during their cycle, 5 would become pregnant. After taking Plan B within 5 days, only 2 women would become pregnant.
Less effective if the woman weighs over 175 pounds (>80 kg, BMI >30)

How does it work?
It prevents or postpones ovulation.


Is it safe?
Yes. There is no harm to the woman who takes it, nor does it cause birth defects if it does not work or the woman is already pregnant.


How do I take it?
Take both pills as soon as possible. They must be taken within 5 days of the unprotected sex to have any effect but work best if taken as soon as possible.



What are the side effects?
You may get some nausea. You may take Gravol (dimenhydrinate) for this. Your period may be irregular for a month afterward.



And afterwards?
You are likely to ovulate soon after taking the Plan B so make sure you are using good contraception!


What is the cost?

PlanB costs $25-40 at a pharmacy and it less expensive or free at youth clinics and OPT clinics.

Copper IUD

How effective is it?
Over 99%. In studies of 7034 women who received emergency IUDS, 6 women (0.09%) became pregnant. We would have expected 352.

There is no difference with weight or BMI.


How does it work?
It interferes with sperm and egg activity and prevents fertilization and implantation.

Is it safe?
Yes. There is less than 1/1000 chance that a hole could be made in your uterus when the IUD is inserted (perforation). These holes heal within weeks. There is a slightly increased risk of infection in the first few weeks. You will be checked and treated for this if it happens.

How do I get it?
You can call Willow Women’s Clinic at 604-709-5611 for an appointment. Make sure you say it is for an Emergency IUD and when you had unprotected sex so you will be given an appointment within 7 days of that event. A doctor will insert it into your uterus. Check the IUD page.

What are the side effects?
Most women feel crampy pain when the IUD is inserted, but this is quick. Most women feel like they are having a period afterwards with light bleeding and maybe some cramps. Periods are heavier and longer for most women afterwards, but improve after the first 3 months.

And afterwards?
If you want to leave the IUD in, you will have good contraception for 5 years. You can have it taken out any time after your next period.

What is the cost?

The copper IUD is $75.00 at our clinic. If you do not have BC Medical Coverage there will be a charge of $250.00 for insertion.


1st two days of period = 0
Two days before ovulation = 15-20%
Any day = 5%
risk of pregnancy
Leung VWY, Soon JA, Levine M. Emergency Contraception Update: A Canadian Perspective. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2008:83(1):178-181.


Many clinics and doctors who insert IUDs are not able to get you an appointment in time. Here is a list of clinics which are able to insert IUDs within a few days so that it will be within 7 days from unprotected sex.
In Vancouver:
Willow Women’s Clinic
#1013 – 740 West Broadway 604-709-5611
In Victoria:
Vancouver Island Women’s Clinic
#104 – 284Helmcken 250-480-7338


Suite 1013 – 750 West Broadway Vancouver BC V5Z 1H9
Ph. : 604-709-5611
Fax : 604-873-8304
Email: willowwomensclinic@yahoo.ca