Posted on 10.01.2012 by Kelly
I recently decided that I would like to switch birth control methods, from male condoms to the copper ParaGard IUD. Having recently gotten health insurance coverage after a summer of being unemployed and uninsured, I excitedly searched the list of covered benefits on my insurer's website, certain that the IUD would be included. However, under the category of "Implanted Contraceptives" bold letters read, "Not Covered." This is extremely frustrating, considering that implanted contraceptives, often referred to as long-acting reversible contraception, are the most effective of all contraceptive methods, with typical use failure rates of 0.05-0.8%. Also frustrating is that other than the diaphragm, the only reversible methods covered by my insurance plan are hormonal. The full cost of the ParaGard is $754, which does not include the insertion fee and the cost of associated tests for pregnancy and STIs. This is not something I can afford at this point in time, and considering the alternative of condoms bought online in bulk for around $0.30 each the cost seems even harder to justify. But, considering the efficacy and long-term nature of the IUD, it is a method I would like to use, and I've spent the last couple of weeks calling several clinics to determine eligibility for sliding scales and other programs for a reduced price, which is a work in progress. In the midst of this somewhat stressful process, a number of interesting and heartening articles regarding the IUD have come out recently, further fueling my confidence in this choice as right for me at this particular time in my life.
For your Monday reading pleasure, here are a few such articles:
"IUDs and Contraceptive Implants Safe for Teens" If you haven't heard, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recently released a statement encouraging the use of IUDs by teens, a move that will hopefully help assuage practitioner and patient fears of infertility and other long-term negative effects for people who have never had children.
"Why Don't More American Women Use IUDs?" This article from Mother Jones has some interesting graphs and insights concerning the relatively low rate of US IUD use as compared to worldwide use of the method.
"How can a small piece of copper prevent you from getting pregnant?" I found this recent piece helpful in better understanding how the copper IUD works.
"Switching Contraceptives Effectively" While not talking specifically about the IUD, I found this article to be really helpful and relevant for folks who are looking to switch to a different method.
And finally, this is not new, but I think this comic about one person's experience getting an IUD is really cute.