You have a choice when it comes to emergency contraception — you can opt for the morning-after pill or the emergency IUD — also known as ‘the emergency coil’ or the copper coil, which can cost up to €300.
You no longer have to see a doctor or get a prescription — if you need emergency contraception you can get it at your local chemist following a quick consultation with the pharmacist.
The morning-after pill is now also available in pharmacies free of charge to women with a medical card and without a prescription.
You don’t have to take the morning- after- pill the morning after. Although it’s advisable to take oral emergency contraceptive pills as soon as possible after unprotected sex, you do have a window of opportunity.
One type, ellaOne, which costs €35 including consultation, can be taken within five days ( 120 hours) of unprotected sex. The other, levonorgestrel, €25 including consultation, can be taken within three days ( 72 hours) of unprotected sex. These pills work by either preventing or delaying ovulation.
Therefore, they must be taken as soon as possible, as they’re not effective if ovulation has already taken place.
The emergency IUD can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex or up to five days after the earliest time you could have ovulated.
It is not an abortion pill — scientists have repeatedly shown that the morning-after pill does not cause abortion.
Side effects: The most common side effects are nausea and some spotting. Less common are symptoms such as vomiting, headache, breast soreness, dizziness, fatigue and cramps. However, most people tolerate the pills well.