New research debunks one massive myth about the morning after pill 3 years ago

New research debunks one massive myth about the morning after pill

As a girl in secondary school in Ireland, it’s pretty certain that you would have heard the rumour that taking the morning after pill three times would result in infertility.

It was one of the most widely shared urban legends among students but research has found it to be completely false.

New national research of Irish women, carried out by the manufacturers of ellaOne has revealed that 80% of Irish women had heard at least one incorrect myth about the morning after pill.

The most popular are discussed and dispelled below:

MYTH:
Repeat use of the morning after pill can lead to infertility
41% of Irish women surveyed said that they had heard that repeat use of the morning after pill can lead to infertility.
FACT:
This is false.
There is no evidence to suggest that using the morning after pill more than once will make you infertile. Emergency contraception has no effect on future fertility. However, the morning after pill is a backup method for preventing pregnancy and should only be used occasionally.
Emergency contraception will not protect you from pregnancy if you have unprotected sex again in the days following intake. If you want to have sex after using emergency contraception, you should use a barrier method of contraception until your next period, this is because your fertility can come back very quickly.

MYTH:
There is only one emergency contraception method available
34% of Irish women surveyed said that they had heard that there was only one method of emergency contraception available.
FACT:
This is false.
There are two types of emergency contraception that can be used after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure to prevent pregnancy. These are: the morning after pill – also known as the ‘emergency contraceptive pill’ and the emergency IUD (intrauterine device), also known as ‘the emergency coil’.

MYTH:
Emergency contraception can be taken any time after having unprotected sex and will still be effective
11% of Irish women surveyed said that they had heard that emergency contraception can be taken any time after having unprotected sex and will still be effective.
FACT:
This is false.
It is important to remember that the sooner you use emergency contraception after sex, the more effective it will be.
You can take ellaOne no later than 120 hours (5 days) after you have had unprotected sex or experienced a contraceptive failure.
Levonogestral can be taken up to 72 hours (3 days) after you have had unprotected sex or experienced a contraceptive failure. 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.

MYTH:
The morning after pill works by causing a mini abortion
36% of Irish women surveyed said that they had heard that the morning after pill works by causing a mini abortion.
FACT:
This is false.
The morning after pill does not cause an abortion. The morning after pill works by delaying or inhibiting egg release. This means that the sperm waiting in the fallopian tubes will be unable to meet an egg and fertilise it. This is similar to regular contraceptive pills, which also work by preventing egg release.
This all happens before pregnancy can begin, which is 6-12 days after unprotected sex. If you are already pregnant emergency contraception will not interrupt your pregnancy.

MYTH:
Emergency contraception is hard to get
24% of Irish women surveyed said that they had heard that the morning after pill is hard to get.
FACT:
This is false.
Emergency contraception is available from a variety of sources.
Oral emergency contraception is available directly from your pharmacist, without a prescription.
You can also get emergency contraception from your GP, family planning clinic, walk-in centre or out of hours service.
The emergency IUD needs to be inserted by a specifically trained healthcare professional and so may not be as readily available.
A pharmacist or healthcare professional will be able to advise which option is most suitable for you.

MYTH:
It’s okay to use emergency contraception instead of regular contraception
15% of Irish women surveyed said that they had heard that it’s okay to use emergency contraception instead of regular contraception.
FACT:
This is false.
Emergency contraception is not regular contraception. After unprotected sex or contraceptive failure, it is wise to use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy if you are not ready to have a baby, but it should be viewed as a ‘back up’ option. Like all contraception, emergency contraception is not 100% effective (you may have just ovulated when you took the emergency contraception pill).
In addition, emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you're not using a regular method of contraception, you might consider doing so in order to lower the risk of unintended pregnancy.