Intrauterine Device / Copper Coil

What is it?

  • A small, soft, flexible, T shaped device (with parts of it coated in copper) that fits inside the womb.
  • It is easily inserted by a trained health care professional.

How does it work?

  • Prevents sperm surviving in the womb and fallopian tubes and therefore stops fertilisation of an egg.
  • Prevents implantation of a fertilised egg in the womb lining.

What’s great about it?

  • Extremely effective (>99%). Less than 6 in 1000 women will fall pregnant using the device.
  • Contraception lasts for 5-10 years unless you want it removed earlier.
  • Doesn’t contain hormones so can be used by women who can’t tolerate or use hormonal methods and won’t affect the natural frequency of your periods.
  • Fertility returns after it is removed.
  • Can be used by women who have never had a baby.
  • Will be no need to take pills, interrupt sex or requirement to attend clinic regularly after insertion.
  • Is not affected by other medications.

What’s not so great about it?

  • No protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - condoms advised.
  • Insertion can be slightly uncomfortable. Local anaesthetic is offered.
  • Periods may be a little longer, heavier or more painful. This may improve.
  • Can become displaced or fall out (expulsion) but this is uncommon (5 in 100) and you can do checks yourself to make sure it’s in place.
  • Small risk of pelvic infection for up to 3 weeks after insertion. This risk is reduced by having a sexual health screen before it’s fitted.
  • Very small risk of perforating the womb or cervix (1 in 500).

Where can I get it?

  • Sexual Health services. A preliminary appointment is sometimes required before fitting.
  • Family planning clinics
  • Some GP practices

Additional Links


SH.UK offers a range of free sexual health service such as STI testing, treatment and contraception across the UK. Simply register then complete an online consultation to order your free STI test kit.

Proudly made in Sheffield by Preventx (CQC), and in partnership with local providers.

Preventx CQC