The Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUD) is an inexpensive, long-term, highly effective and completely reversible contraceptive method. As of 2013 PSI distributed 1,359,276 IUDs, averting 1,939,323 DALYs and providing 5,123,473 CYPs.
The IUD is an essential part of our contraceptive method mix. It provides a long-term solution to family planning for women who do not wish to receive a permanent method.
IUDs are made of soft, flexible plastic and copper and inserted into the uterus. Our network provides two types of copper bearing IUD, the TCu-380A, (Copper T) and the Cu 375 (Multiload). Once inserted, copper-bearing IUDs are effective for up to twelve and five years respectively.
The Copper IUD prevents fertilization, and, once removed, allows for an immediate return to fertility. Our network makes IUDs accessible using a variety of approaches, including private sector providers through social franchise networks in 20 countries, mobile services and innovative public-private partnerships in 28 countries.
The IUD as Emergency Contraception
The IUD can also be used as a form of emergency contraception. The Copper IUD is in fact the most effective form of emergency contraception. The IUD as emergency contraception can be used to reduce the chance of unintended pregnancy following unprotected intercourse, contraceptive failure or misuse (such as forgotten pills or torn condoms), or in cases of sexual assault. The IUD can be inserted up to five days following unprotected intercourse, and can be used for up to twelve years. To facilitate access to IUDs as emergency contraception, our network has worked with partners to modify provider screening tools to include the option of IUD as an emergency contraception method.
Postpartum IUD (PPIUD)
Reaching postpartum women with family planning is a critical component to decreasing unmet need among women who want to limit or space their births. Waiting at least three years following a delivery to get pregnant again can significantly decrease the risk of adverse maternal and child health outcomes.
We have partnered with the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services (SPIRES) and Pregna International Ltd., to create a low-cost inserter designed specifically for PPIUD insertion. The dedicated PPIUD inserter addresses the particular insertion challenges during the immediate postpartum period. Read more about the postpartum inserter.
Making a Difference
Ingrid Idalia Montes Alvarado is a 44-year-old mother of seven from Guatemala City. She and her husband, who is a day laborer, knew that another child would stretch them past the breaking point.
“Each child is beautiful,” says Ingrid. “But when one gets sick, sometimes you don’t have what you need to take care of them. Sometimes there’s not even enough bread or water to give them.”
Ingrid had tried just about every contraceptive method she knew about and could get hold of, but she experienced side effects each time. And each time she got pregnant.
But Ingrid’s life changed the day she chose an intrauterine device. Read her story here.