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Emergency intra-uterine device

An intra-uterine contraceptive device in its orange casing

How it works

It makes the egg and sperm less likely to be successful at developing into a baby and it stops the fertilised egg from settling into the wall of the womb. It is a small tube that contains copper and it can be inserted into the womb via a vaginal examination. It only takes 5 minutes to insert and can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex or even up to 5 days after ovulation.


  • Works up to 5 days after unprotected sex or even longer.
  • Is free from a doctor.
  • Stops you getting pregnant and avoiding having to have an abortion.
  • Doesn't interact with any medicines.
  • Can become your continuing method of contraception or it can be removed after the next normal period.


  • It sometimes takes longer to organise than the emergency pill.
  • You have to get a doctor or family planning nurse to insert it.
  • There is a slight risk of infection at time of insertion.
  • There is a very slight risk of perforation of the womb.
  • It gives no protection against sexually transmitted diseases.