top of page


What is emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception comes in two forms: 

The emergency contraceptive pill "ECP" (aka "the morning after pill") and the copper IUD

These emergency forms of contraception work in different ways, but ultimately do the same thing - reduce your risk of becoming pregnant after unprotected sex.  

Emergency contraception is extremely effective. The risk of pregnancy with the ECP is 2 in 100 women, and less than 1 in 100 women with the copper IUD.


How good? 

Very effective at stopping pregnancy after unprotected intercourse

The ECP is 98% effective, the copper IUD is  >99% effective at preventing pregnancy. 

How easy? 

ECP can be bought at a Pharmacy, have a chat with the pharmacist then you will be sold it.

Both the ECP and Copper IUD can be accessed through Family Planning or your GP. 

Side effects? 

ECP: none known

Copper IUD: insertion risks (infection/pain)

How hard to get? 

Go to the pharmacy for the ECP, or see your GP or Family Planning for both ECP and Copper IUD

How much?

ECP: no extra cost with a Family Planning appointment, prescription cost ($5) for a "back-pocket" script to take home, pharmacy (no prescription) costs $35 - $50. 

types of emergency contraception

Image by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition

Emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) 

How does it work?

The ECP is pretty cool! It is a small pill of a hormone called levonorgestrel.


It is understood that this little pill delays your ovulation. Taking it reduces the risk of the sperm meeting the egg. 

You can have the ECP up to 3 days after unprotected intercourse (its effectiveness reduces each day it is delayed). We recommend taking within 12 hours!

how long does it last?

  • Single-dose

    • After this, we recommend finding a longer-term method of birth control (check out our other pages!)​

Image by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition

Copper IUD

How does it work?

The copper-IUD has two main ways to stop pregnancy:

  • Irritant to sperm (stops sperm from getting to the egg)

  • Irritant to the lining of the womb (stops potential pregnancy from implanting in the womb)

You can get the copper IUD put in up to 5 days after having unprotected intercourse. 

how long does it last?

  • 10 years , you can get it taken out earlier if you want

why would emergency contraception suit me? 

  • You have had an "oops" moment

    • Condom broke, forgot to take your pill, missed your jab

  • You got caught up in the moment​

    • Sexual stimulation got the better of you, alcohol intoxication, felt you might get away with it​, tried the 'pull out' but it didn't work that well!

  • Scary times, such as rape

    • Rape is a terrible thing to happen to anyone, and unfortunately, it still occurs in our society. If you have been subject to rape, or had sex with someone who refused to use contraception, then emergency contraception may be for you. We recommend taking it earlier rather than later​

  • The copper IUD can be inserted up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse

    • This can be used when the ECP is not suitable​


  • Highly effective methods of contraception after having unprotected intercourse


  • Can be taken up to 3 days after unprotected intercourse

  • 98% effective for those of average weight 

  • Can access from pharmacies​

Copper IUD 

  • 99% effective up to 5 days after intercourse​

  • Provides emergency and long-term birth control!



  • Not suitable for some weights, recommend copper IUD instead

  • If you weigh over 70kg or any concerns around your weight, your pharmacist will advise you - for example you may need to take two pills

  • Some people report nausea, abdominal cramps, headache, breast tenderness

Copper IUD

  • Insertion risks: infection, very low risk of uterine perforation (hole in the side of the uterus)

  • Ongoing: period cramps, increased bleeding

  • IUD falling out

what next?

If you have had unprotected intercourse and are looking for emergency contraception, head down to your local pharmacy to see whether you are suitable for the ECP. The pharmacist will take you through some questions, then provide you with the tablet. 

If you are not suitable for the ECP, then you will need to book in with your GP or Family Planning to have a copper IUD inserted. 

In the future...
Luna Health hope to provide a birth control service that assesses eligibility for each birth control method including emergency!

This will save you time and money

Share your experience

help others decide what is best for them 

Your experience
How satisfied are you?Very dissatisfiedA bit dissatisfiedPretty satisfiedSatisfiedVery satisfiedHow satisfied are you?

your experience

Tropical Plants

Laura, 29

I have taken ECP twice. The first time I was not likely ovulating but for piece of mind I took the ECP and had no problems. The second time, I took the ECP within 12 hours, as I was more likely to be ovulating at the time. This time the ECP failed, and around 4-5 weeks later I learned I was pregnant. That was a shock.

Woman in Swimsuit

Lucy, 29

I have taken the ECP three times in my life, and it has been 100% successful and relieved a lot of worry!

Every time it has been easy to do and not too awkward - the pharmacists have been friendly and I've always been taken into a side-room to chat and answer questions before being sold it.

Abstract Colors 5

Tom, 29

My partner and I had to use the morning after pill, obviously not an ideal situation, but thankfully there is this option. We went down to the pharmacy and it was quick and easy as the pharmacist made my partner feel comfortable.

bottom of page