What is it?

A copper IUD (intrauterine device); sometimes called a coil or copper coil, is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that is inserted into the womb. It is a low-maintenance option as it is inserted by clinician and works for 5-10 years. It works by stopping the egg and sperm from surviving in the womb or the fallopian tubes. IUDs are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

To compare contraception methods and what will work best for you, use the Contraception Choices Tool.

Most people with a womb can use an IUD.

The IUD may not be suitable if you:

  • think you might be pregnant

  • have an untreated STI or a pelvic infection

  • have problems with your womb or cervix

  • have unexplained bleeding between periods or after sex

People who have had any cardiac conditions must consult their GP or clinician before having an IUD fitted.
 

  • It protects against pregnancy for 5 or 10 years, depending on the type.

  • The IUD is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy 

  • Once an IUD is fitted, it works straight away.

  • An IUD is a hormonal-free method of contraceptive there are no hormonal side effects, such as acne, headaches or breast tenderness.

  • It does not interrupt sex.

  • It's safe to use an IUD if you're breastfeeding.

  • Your fertility returns as soon as the IUD is removed.

  • It's not affected by other medicines.

  • There's no evidence that an IUD will affect your weight or increase the risk of cervical cancer, womb (uterus) cancer or ovarian cancer

  • Insertion can be painful/uncomfortable

  • Periods can be become heavier, more painful and last longer. 

  • There is a small increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy if the IUD fails and you become pregnant.

  • Does not protect against STI’s. If you get an STI while you have an IUD, it could lead to pelvic infection if not treated.

  • Although extremely rare, in less than 1 in 1000 cases the IUD can make a hole in the womb or the neck of the womb and will need to be removed with an operation.

  • Although rare, the IUD can be expelled from the womb (rejection) or can move. This is uncommon but is more likely to happen soon after it has been fitted.

IUD’s must be inserted by a clinician. Before you can be booked for an IUD fitting, you must be cleared for STI’s, discuss whether it is a safe option for you with a clinician/nurse.