Intrauterine devices (IUDs) should be used routinely to provide emergency contraception, according to the authors of the first systematic review of all available data from the past 35 years.
They found that IUDs had a failure rate of less than one per thousand and were a more effective form of emergency contraception than the “morning after pill”. In addition, IUDs continued to protect women from unwanted pregnancy for many more years if they were left in place.
The research, which is published online in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction  today (Wednesday), analysed data from 42 studies carried out in six countries  between 1979 and 2011 and published in English or Chinese. IUD use in China is the highest in the world with 43% of women using them for contraception compared with 13% in the rest of the world, according to a 2006 report. The studies included eight different types of IUDs and 7034 women.