- Questions and Answers...
There's two main types of contraception
- general contraception like condoms, the pill etc - or emergency
contraception. This section is for general contraception for
emergency contraception click here
The Rules Around Contraception
A young person can access contraception at any age. However, legally speaking since the 2003 Sex Offences Act a clinician would have to make a referral to child protection if they were asking for the pill/contraception for contraceptive purposes if the young person was 12 or under. From 13 onwards they can be deemed Fraser competent - a selection of criteria to be met, and can legally "consent" themselves without anyone being informed. But if a clinician felt they were being taken advantage of/abused then the clinician can refer to child protection/social services directly - with the young person's knowledge. At no time should their parents be informed without the young persons consent by a clinician.
So in short - a young person can be prescribed the pill from 13 if they meet certain criteria, and the clinician feels they are competent/understand/are at risk of pregnancy/not being coerced etc. A younger person could theoretically be prescribed the pill (and would be if they were at risk) but the clinician would have to refer to child protection.
What are Condoms?
At present the condom is the only widely available male contraception.
It's basically an almost microscopically thin walled rubber tube
that fits skin tight over the penis. It is a physical barrier that
stops sperm going inside the female body. They must be used and
worn right in order for them to be effective. Click
here to find out more...
How effective are Condoms?
When used properly condoms are very effective in preventing pregnancy.
Condoms do have the added advantage of helping to stop you catching
STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) , but the pill does provide
better protection against unplanned pregnancy. Condoms have the
advantage of allowing the male to take an active part in contraception
and have no known side effects. Click here
to find out more...
The Contraceptive Pill
There are many different brands of pill available in the UK but they are all made up of the two female hormones, progestogen and oestrogen. It is these hormones which prevent ovulation which stops you getting pregnant. The hormones have other effects which also help prevent pregnacy.
How effective is the Contraceptive Pill?
Very! Amost 100%, which is even better than the condom, BUT you have to take it EXACTLY as instructed and it does not do anything to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Cap or Diaphragm
Made of rubber these fit inside the vagina forming a barrier between
egg and sperm. Available in various shapes and sizes a nurse or
doctor will need to show you how to use it. It does not stay in
the vagina but is put in a few hours before sex. A spermicide cream
has to be used and the cap must remain in place at least six
hours after sex.
IUD - Intrauterine Device
Fitted by a doctor this is a small t-shaped device that stays in
place permanently. You will need regular checks to make sure
it is in place.
Both the cap and IUD are effective in stopping pregnancy but offer
no protection against STIs. Neither contraception can be felt by
the boy or girl during sex. You can prevent unwanted pregnancy after unprotected sex by having a copper IUD inserted. This can be effective up to one week after intercourse.