The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) is an inexpensive, long-term, highly effective and completely reversible contraceptive method. As of 2016, PSI has distributed 683,813 IUDs, averting 1,464,692 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and providing 2,918,845 couple years of protection (CYPs).
The IUD is an essential part of our contraceptive method mix. It provides a long-term family planning solution 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 Cu-375 (multiload) and the TCu-380A (Copper T). Once inserted, copper-bearing IUDs are effective for up to five and 12 years respectively.
The copper IUD prevents fertilization, and, once removed, allows for an immediate return to fertility. Our network makes IUDs accessible in 29 countries.
The IUD as Emergency Contraception
The IUD can also be used as a form of emergency contraception. It is in fact the most effective form of emergency contraception. It 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 five or 12 years, depending on the IUD used. 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.
PSI 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 postpartum IUD (PPIUD) insertion. The dedicated PPIUD inserter addresses the particular insertion challenges faced in the immediate postpartum period.
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 many different contraceptive methods, but she experienced side effects each time, and each time, she got pregnant.
But then PSI stepped in. Read Ingrid’s story about how her life changed the day she chose an intrauterine device.
- Global Consensus Statement: Expanding Contraceptive Choice for Adolescents and Youth to Include Long-Acting Reversible Contraception
- Expanding Access to Long-acting Reversible Contraceptives and Permanent Methods through Task Sharing: Meeting Report