Emergency contraception

If you had recent unprotected sex and you don't want to be pregnant, you need to act quickly - please seek advice as soon as possible!

If you have had sex without using any contraception, or you think your contraception might have failed, you can use emergency contraception. There are two methods of emergency contraception:

  •  Emergency Hormonal  Contraception, known as the emergency contraceptive pill (it used to be called the morning after pill)

  • The Copper Coil (correctly called the  Intrauterine Device - IUD)

    The Copper Coil is significantly more effective at preventing pregnancy than the tablet form of emergency contraception

Emergency contraceptive pill

There are two types of emergency contraceptive pill:

  • Levonelle is the most commonly used. It can be taken up to three days (72 hours) after having a pregnancy risk

  • ellaOne is a newer type of emergency contraceptive pill that can be taken up to five days (120 hours) after having a pregnancy risk

Copper intrauterine device (IUD)

The copper intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, plastic and copper device that can be fitted into your womb by a doctor or nurse within five days of having unprotected sex.

The IUD stops sperm from reaching an egg and fertilising it. It is the most effective method of emergency contraception and prevents up to 99% of pregnancies.


Getting Emergency Contraception

You can get the emergency contraceptive pill in the following places:-

  • Sexual Health and Contraception (Family Planning) clinics (free of charge)

  • Free from GPs (you do not need to be registered with the GP you visit but it is best to ring first to confirm that they offer it). Click here to find a GP.

  • Free through the GP Out of Hours service (6.30pm to 8.00am weekdays and all day weekends and bank holidays) – call NHS111 for advice

  • If you are 19 years or under and live in North Yorkshire you can get free emergency contraceptions from the Healthy Child Team. Find your local team by ringing 01423 557711 or ask in school how to contact the nurse. The service is confidential.

  • Some NHS Walk in Centres or Minor Injury Units. Click here to find the nearest one to you.

  • Some Pharmacies or Chemists. If you are aged between 13 and 24 you can get the emergency contraceptive pill at some pharmacies in North Yorkshire free of charge. It is worth checking that the Pharmacist is available before you go. If you are over 25 pharmacies will charge for emergency contraception

  • City of York Pharmacies are currently not providing free emergency contraception but can provide it for £20 - £30

The emergency IUD (coil) has to be fitted by a specially trained doctor or nurse. It is best to contact your GP or local contraception/sexual health clinic to find out where is the best place for you to go if you want an emergency IUD.

Click here to veiw our clinics and services.