I thought I would add a more detailed spin to the post in 2011 I had on birth control on the cheap
The invention of birth control pills in the 1970′s has revolutionalised women’s health and family planning. As women, we have over 35 years where we have to “plan” to avoid pregnancy (unless you are trying to get pregnant and starting a family, of course!). Therefore, it makes sense to do a bit of research as to the options available. Birth control can be pretty affordable if you have a extended health plan, however, if you don’t, it can be quite pricey.
Here are some money saving options out there for you to consider when thinking about birth control. Of course, it is important to remember that many of these options do not protect you against sexually transmitted infections!
Although condoms are the only birth control available in the post that actually protect against STI’s, they can be quite pricey! One great thing about online shopping is the advent of.. well, online shopping! Shopping at Well.ca or other drugstore pharmacies that are online based really takes the embarrassment out of lining up at the cashier with your purchases. They can range anywhere from $0.25 per condom to $1.00 per condom. Amazon.com and eBay are other alternatives as well that have well priced barrier options. According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, the failure rate for the male condom is about 150 unintended pregnancies per 1000 women in the first year of use.
Combined Hormonal Contraceptives
The combined hormonal contraceptives (contains the two synthetic hormones, estrogen and progesterone) can be delivered via patch (Ortho Evra Patch), the ring (Nuva Ring), and the pills (many different types). The 12 month price of these are quite comparable. Typically they cost about $200 to $300 for a 12 month supply if you don’t have a drug plan. The patch costs $245 per year and the NuvaRing costs $245 per year as well. The failure rate is around 3-8% with typical use (most people miss their pill or apply the patch late etc.). So with a typical drug plan covering 80% of the cost, this can be reduced to about $50 a year (if the drug plan covers the pharmacy dispensing fee too).
There are two types of intrauterine devices (IUD), the Mirena and the Copper IUD. The IUD is the most common form of birth control in the world (surprising, eh?). Most people in North America use the birth control pill, but outside of North America, most people use the IUD. It’s also one of the oldest form of birth control, as the nomads in Africa put pebbles in the uterus of the camels to make sure they didn’t get pregnant during long caravan trips!
The IUD is a small plastic T-shaped device that sits in your uterus. You don’t have to remember to take anything or apply anything and it lasts for 5 years. It comes with a high cost up front initially but if you average it over the five years (especially if you’re not planning to have children for a while) it is a very reasonable option. It can also be taken out anytime.
The Mirena system contains a progestin hormone and costs $375 initially. Some extended health benefits cover this. It has to be inserted by a health care provider. The failure rate is very low according to the SOGC, about 2 unintended pregnancies per 1000 women in the first year. In fact, this is even better than the permanent option of birth control, tying the tubes (5 unintended pregnancies per 1000 women)!
The copper IUD contains no hormones and it costs about $80 to $100 initially and also lasts for five years. This means that it costs $16 per year! Hands down the cheapest form of birth control here.
For both the IUDs, the rate of expulsion (the IUD slipping down and not protecting you against pregnancy) is about 5% over 5 years.
The Shot (Depo-Provera)
The Shot is pretty common among young people because they just have to go to their health care provider every three months for an injection. The shot contains the progestin hormone and is highly effective. The failure rate is about 3-6% per year with typical use according to the SOGC. However, one of the major side effects is that there is a delayed return to fertility (since it lasts so long) of 9 months. It also decreases bone mineral density… considering that your youth is when you form the most bone and sets the bone for the rest of your life, this is an important point to consider. The Depo shot costs about $155/year without a drug plan.
The diaphragm is a barrier device that blocks the sperm from entering your uterus and is made out of silicone or latex and should be replaced every two years. It has to be properly fitted by a health care professional. It also has to be left in for 6-8 hours after intercourse and spermicide needs to be used each time. The failure rate for the diaphragm (according to Wikipedia) is around 10-39% with typical use. It costs around $50 to $75.
There you have it! Hopefully this information helps you make an informed decision weighing both your health care needs and your budget needs!