Academics & Research

Research

Women Seeking Emergency Contraception Benefit From Hormonal IUD Option

A new study from the collaboration between the University’s family planning program in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, found that women seeking short-term emergency contraception benefit from a variety of options for long-term birth control.

Previous work has shown that women seeking emergency contraception have a particularly high risk of having future unwanted pregnancies. Helping these women access long-term contraception may reduce this burden.

Women are typically given two choices when seeking emergency contraception: the morning-after pill, which provides no protection against future unintended pregnancies, or the copper intrauterine device (IUD), which serves as both a short- and long-term contraceptive. The copper IUD can have negative side-effects, like heavier periods, and isn’t very popular. David Turok and his team gave women a third option: take the morning-after pill and also receive the long-term hormonal IUD.

Of the 1,004 patients approached, only 188 (~18 percent) agreed to participate in the study. Nearly twice as many of those women chose a hormonal IUD paired with the morning-after pill rather than a copper IUD. In addition, the study found the morning-after pill’s efficacy may have increased when paired with the hormonal IUD.

The study found that women are more accepting of long-term contraception when given more options. This research formed the foundation of an NIH sponsored randomized study which will definitely compare the copper and hormonal IUDs for emergency contraception.