Emergency contraception

Three people drinking and laughing together
"I moved in with Gemma at first. it was fun. We partied, went out pulling, took risks, had a laugh. When she fell pregnant we had to slow it down."

If you need contraception in an emergency – either because you have had unprotected sex or because something went wrong (e.g. you were using a condom which split) you need to act quickly!

Emergency contraceptive (sometimes called the ‘morning after’ pill) is the most commonly used. It can be taken up to three days (72 hours) after having unprotected sex, but the sooner you take it the more effective it is. There is also a new pill which can be taken up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. It is only available from a health professional.

The emergency contraceptive pill is available free from the following: All YorSexual Health Clinics – see yorsexualhealth.org.uk for opening times. From GPs – you don’t need to be registered with the GP you visit but it is best to confirm they offer it – ask for an emergency appointment. Also the Out of Hours GP Service – call 111 for an appointment. Open overnight, at weekends and bank holidays.

You can also get emergency contraception from a pharmacy but you will have to pay for this (approximately £20–30).

Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD or ‘coil’) is a small plastic and copper device, fitted inside your uterus by a doctor or nurse. It must be fitted within five days of unprotected sex. It is the most effective method of emergency contraception. Contact your GP or one of the YorSexual Health clinics for advice.