Copper IUD icon
Copper IUD 
  • 99% effective
  • Lasts 10 to 12 years
  • Inserted and removed by a provider
  • No hormones
  • No STI/STD protection
  • Not visible to your partner

  

What is it?
  • The copper IUD (intrauterine device) is a small, flexible T-shaped plastic device wrapped in a tiny bit of copper that’s placed inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy.

  • There are thin strings attached to the tip of the IUD, which hang a little bit out of the cervix.

  • You can only feel the IUD if you place your finger deep into your vagina. Your partner can’t feel the strings.

  • A health care provider inserts the IUD into your uterus during a pelvic exam.

  • The copper IUD is one of the most effective birth control methods available — it’s 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, and it works for up to 10 to 12 years.1

  • The copper IUD is low maintenance. There’s no chance of forgetting to take it or using it incorrectly.

  • If you decide you want to get pregnant, a health care provider can remove the IUD and you can try to get pregnant right away.

  • A common copper IUD brand is Paragard.
  • Copper on the IUD causes sperm cells to stop moving, keeping them from reaching the egg. Since the sperm and egg can’t meet, a pregnancy isn’t possible.
  • You can get a copper IUD at your medical facility.
  • In the United States, a copper IUD can cost up to $1,300. The cost may vary depending on where you live.

  • Kaiser Permanente members may be able to get a copper IUD at low or no cost.2
  • The copper IUD must be inserted by a health care provider.

  • The one-time procedure only takes a few minutes.

  • The provider puts a speculum into your vagina and uses a special tool to insert the IUD through the opening of your cervix and into your uterus.

  • Once it’s inserted, there’s no daily maintenance. It lasts up to 10 to 12 years.

  • You’ll need to get the IUD removed by a provider after 10 to 12 years, when it expires.
  • The copper IUD is safe and 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

  • It’s a long-term birth control method, lasting up to 10 to 12 years.

  • There’s no daily or regular maintenance, and you don’t need to go to the pharmacy for refills. It works until it expires or you have it taken out.

  • It can be used immediately after you have a baby and while you’re breastfeeding.

  • The copper IUD won’t affect your fertility.3 You can try to get pregnant once you take it out.

  • It has no hormones.
  • The copper IUD doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), including HIV. Even if you have an IUD, you should use a condom every time you have sex to reduce your chances of getting or spreading STIs.

  • Many people experience cramps or backaches during the IUD insertion and for a few days after the procedure.

  • Some people have heavier, longer periods and more cramping for the first few months.

  • Serious complications and side effects are rare. Rare complications may include: The IUD can poke through the wall of the uterus, the IUD can fall out of the uterus, or you can get an infection.
  • You can have the copper IUD taken out whenever you want. You must get it taken out after 10 to 12 years, when the copper IUD expires.

  • A provider must do the IUD removal.

  • Copper IUD removal is a quick procedure. The provider gently pulls on the strings, and the IUD slips out easily with minimal or no discomfort.

  

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© 2019 Kaiser Permanente

1“Contraceptive Fact Sheets,” Adolescent ACCESS Project, Indiana University School of Medicine & Purdue University College of Pharmacy, pharmacyaccessforms.org, July 14, 2018.
 
2Costs are dependent on your policy terms. For questions about your coverage, please call Member Services or view your benefit coverage documents.
 
3“IUD,” Planned Parenthood, plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud/what-are-the-benefits-of-iuds, accessed August 13, 2019.