Contraception

Are you concerned about falling pregnant?  Not sure about what is available contraception-wise.

Want some advice on what is right for you? Try Contraception Australia

Here is a rundown on what you can access in Australia.

Female condom

The female condom is the reverse of the male condom. Where the male condom wraps the outside of the penis, the female condom wraps the inside of the vaginal canal. 

  • Femidom
  • 79% effective
  • Single-use
  • Offers protection against STIs
  • Affordable, non-hormonal, easily reversible, no script required, not relying on a man to manage the process
  • Susceptible to imperfect use and breakage, interrupts sex, can be difficult to access.

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a small-cap that sits at the entrance to your cervix and prevents sperm from getting through. 

  • Caya
  • 82% effective
  • Can be reused for up to 2 years
  • Non-hormonal, easily reversible, no script required.
  • Can be inserted hours before intercourse to prevent interrupting sexual spontaneity.
  • No STI protection
  • Can be purchased without a prescription
  • Requires a high level of user action, susceptible to imperfect use, interrupts sex, can be difficult to access.
  • Must be removed after 6 hours

The Pill

An oral contraceptive

  • Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill, COC, Contraceptive Pill
  • 91% effective
  • Easy to access, easily reversible, can assist with managing periods.
  • Needs to be taken daily
  • No STI protection
  • Highly user dependent, may cause side effects, requires a script.

The Mini Pill

An oral contraceptive

  • Progestogen Only Pill
  • 91% effective
  • Easy to access, easily reversible, can assist with managing periods.
  • Needs to be taken daily
  • No STI protection
  • Highly user-dependent, may cause side effects, requires a script.

Vaginal Ring

The Vaginal Ring is a thin band, made out of polyethylene vinyl acetate, and operates on the same combined hormonal composition as the pill. The Ring is inserted into the vagina and left there for three weeks to slowly release the hormones.

  • Contraceptive Ring, Combined Hormonal Ring, NuvaRing
  • 91% effective
  • Easy to access, easily reversible, can assist with managing periods.
  • Lasts for 3 weeks
  • No STI protection
  • Some user action required, may cause side effects, requires a script.

Implant

An internal device

  • Rod, Bar, Contraceptive Implant, Implanon
  • 99.9% effective
  • Lasts for 3 years
  • No STI protection
  • Low maintenance, reversible, long-lasting, cost-effective, progestogen only
  • Doctor required to insert / remove, may cause side effects, may cause erratic periods.

Injection

A needle

  • Jab, Depo, Depo-Provera or Depo-Ralovera
  • 94% effective
  • Lasts 12 weeks
  • No STI protection
  • Easy to access, low maintenance, can assist managing periods and symptoms, progestogen only.
  • Some user action required, may cause side effects, requires a script, may be a delayed return to fertility for a few months (up to 18 months).

Hormonal IUD

An internal device

  • Mirena, Intrauterine System, IUS
  • 99.8% effective
  • Lasts for 5 years
  • No STI protection
  • Low maintenance, reversible, long-lasting, cost-effective, progestogen only, can assist managing periods.
  • Doctor required to insert / remove, may cause side effects, small risk of perforation and expulsion.

Copper IUD

An internal device

  • IUD, Non-hormonal IUD, The Coil
  • 99.2% effective
  • Lasts for 5 -10 years
  • No STI protection
  • Low maintenance, reversible, long-lasting, cost-effective, non-hormonal, can be used as emergency contraception.
  • Doctor required to insert / remove, may be associated with more severe menstrual cramps and heavier periods, small risk of perforation and expulsion.

Tubal Ligation

Surgical Option

  • Getting your tubes tied, Female Sterilisation
  • 99.5% effective
  • Permanent
  • No STI protection
  • Not associated with changes to menstruation or sexual function.
  • Failure rate <1%.
  • Very low success rates for reversal, requires general anaesthetic, carriers surgical risks, may be hard to access.

Vasectomy

Surgical Option

  • The Snip, Male Sterilisation
  • 99.9% effective
  • Permanent
  • No STI protection
  • Cost-effective, not associated with changes to sexual function, simple procedure, often performed under local anaesthetic.
  • Failure rate <0.1%.
  • Lower reversal success rate over time, carries surgical risks
  • Negative semen test required at least 3 months after operation before it can be relied on.

Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM)

Pot luck method

  • FAM, Rhythm Method, Calendar Method, Period Tracking
  • 75% effective
  • No STI protection
  • Affordable, non-hormonal, easily reversible, no script required
  • Highly user dependent
  • Ovulation is highly variable between women and affected by many external factors,
  • Higher unplanned pregnancy rate compared to other methods.

Withdrawal

Pot luck method

  • Pull out method, Coitus Interruptus
  • 78% effective
  • No STI protection
  • Affordable, non-hormonal, easily reversible, no script required.
  • Interrupts sex, high failure rate, sperm can be released before ejaculation.

Emergency Contraception Pills

An oral contraceptive

  • Morning After Pill, Plan B
  • 85% effective
  • No STI protection
  • Needs to be taken within 3 days of unprotected sex
  • Easy to access, no script required, very short-acting, delays ovulation, progestogen only option available.
  • Doesn’t work if taken after ovulation, time sensitive, may disrupt menstrual cycle, can affect or be affected by taking hormonal contraception at the same time.

Termination

Surgical Option

  • Abortion, curette
  • 99.9% effective
  • No STI protection
  • May not be a legal option depending on where you reside
  • Requires a twilight anaesthetic as a minimum
  • Carriers surgical risks, may be hard to access.