Family Planning

Family planning includes the decision to have or not have children and what methods are used to prevent pregnancy. When deciding which of the myriad options to choose, one needs to consider their effectiveness, their ease of use and whether or not preventing pregnancy is a temporary or permanent decision.


1. The only 100-percent effective way to avoid becoming pregnant is to abstain completely from having intercourse.

Hormonal Birth control Pills and Patches

2. Birth control pills are 95 to 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Synthetic hormones regulate the menstrual cycle, preventing a woman from ovulating. ORTHO EVRA® is the only once-a-week birth control patch. According to the manufacturer’s it’s as effective as the Pill, and stays in place when attached to the skin.

Barrier Methods

3. Male or female condoms are barrier methods than can be purchased over the counter. A doctor may also prescribe a diaphragm or cervical cap. These methods are 86 to 97 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.


4. A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure done on a man that prevents pregnancy by blocking the passage of sperm into seminal fluid. A tubal ligation is a permanent form of sterilization for a woman. Both of these procedures are permanent.

Mirena Coil

5. The Mirena itself consists of a small t-shaped plastic device which is coated with progesterone. The Mirena Coil is the most popular of the coils currently available. It is chosen primarily by women who have completed their families who may also be experiencing heavy painful periods. Women who have had multiple caesarean sections may not be suitable for Mirena insertion. It is a very effective form of contraception, with a failure rate less than the pill and tubal ligation. Fertility should return to normal following removal.


6. An implant is a small flexible rod that is placed just under the skin in your upper arm. It releases a progestogen hormone similar to the natural progesterone that women produce in their ovaries. It is a very effective, long term, hormonal method of contraception which protects you from pregnancy for up to three years. The implant that is available in the UK and Ireland is called Implanon.