Contraception guide

Where can I get emergency contraception?

It depends what type of emergency contraception you use. 

 

There are two methods:

  • the emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill) – there are two types, Levonelle or ellaOne
  • the intrauterine device (IUD), or coil  

The emergency contraceptive pill 

Getting it for free 

You can get both Levonelle and ellaOne free of charge from: 

  • contraception clinics
  • Brook centres
  • some pharmacies (find pharmacies near you)
  • most sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
  • most NHS walk-in centres and minor injuries units 
  • most GP surgeries (find GPs near you)
  • some hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments  

Find out about sexual health services near you.

Buying it 

You can also buy Levonelle and ellaOne from most pharmacies, and from some organisations such as bpas or Marie Stopes

  • Levonelle can be taken within 72 hours (three days) of having unprotected sex, but it's most effective if taken within 12 hours of having unprotected sex. Prices vary, but it's likely to cost around £25. You need to be 16 or over to buy Levonelle. Girls under 16 can get Levonelle, but only with a prescription from their doctor.
  • ellaOne can be taken within 120 hours (five days) of having unprotected sex, but it's most effective if taken as soon as possible after having unprotected sex. Prices vary, but it's likely to cost around £35. ellaOne can be sold to under 16s without a prescription.  

Find out more about how emergency contraceptive pills work.

IUD 

The IUD (intrauterine device) is available from:

  •  contraception clinics
  • Brook centres
  • most sexual health or GUM clinics
  • most GP surgeries  

The IUD is the most effective type of emergency contraception. It is placed inside your womb and it must be fitted by a doctor or nurse.

It must be fitted within five days of having unprotected sex, or, if it's possible to estimate when you ovulate, up to five days after you ovulate.

Find out more about how the IUD works.

You can keep the IUD in as your regular method of contraception, or a doctor or nurse can remove it during your next period.

Find out more about emergency contraception.


Page last reviewed: 31/07/2017

Next review due: 31/07/2020

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