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The Broke Girl’s Guide To: Birth Control and the IUD

Hands up: how many of you reading this right now are on the pill? Many, I presume. After all, it’s the most common form of birth control. It’s easy to get, with a simple method of use and good reliability – should you remember to take it regularly, that is. But unless you’re fortunate enough to be on a health plan of some sort, your daily dose of estrogen and/or progestin will cost you a pretty penny, making it far from the most economical way to keep unwanted offspring at bay. For all of the city’s sexually active and non-baby-seeking ladies, there must be a cheaper yet equally reliable way!

Fear not, poor and randy ones. The IUD is here. In fact, it’s been around since the 1950s and offers you a remarkably cost-effective form of birth control compared to the tried-and-true pill. There is a hormonal version ($350, lasting up to five years) which works in a similar way to the pill, but the savviest of you should opt for the copper IUD, which stops you from getting pregnant by preventing fertilization via a chemical change in your uterus. It will set you back $50 – a small price to pay for five glorious baby-free years.

There are plenty of reasons why the IUD could be the right form of birth control for you… 
 
Money, money, money

Crunching the numbers makes the IUD a clear and obvious choice for penny pinchers. Five years of Alesse (about $9 a pack if purchased from a clinic) rings up at $540 while Yasmin ($18 a pack) comes up at a pricey $1080.

No more hormones! 

While some of you may be sailing smooth through your cycles, the hormonal changes caused by the pill can wreak havoc with your body: mood swings, weight gain and breakouts galore. Should you choose the copper IUD, you won’t have to worry about your birth control messing with any of the above.

Reliability

Sure, the pill is pretty reliable when you take it at the same time each day, every day. But let’s get real – we’re busy (and forgetful) people and missed or late pills are a common occurrence. With the IUD, you can get it on worry free.

We should note that the IUD doesn’t protect you from any of those nasty STIs, so make sure you’re using a condom with a new or unfamiliar partner. And with the good does come the bad – there are some disadvantages when using the IUD, such as accidental expulsion or perforation of your uterus (both are rare, but are risks nonetheless), a bit of pain during insertion (done by a pro, of course – your doctor or a gynaecologist), heavier periods and more cramps (boo!).

If the thought of a little piece of metal stuck in your insides makes you feel a bit icky, there are still some ways you get sexy and save. If you don’t already, be sure to fill your pill prescription at a sexual health clinic like the Bay Centre For Birth Control (790 Bay Street) instead of your local pharmacy.  You’ll do way with dispensing fees and can save some decent coin. At the Bay Centre, and at most other sexual health clinics in Toronto, you can also get Plan B and some sweet and slippery Astroglide at cheaper than street price. As an added bonus, there’s a well-stocked basket of free condoms by the entrance. No broke bitch could pass that one up.  

Bay Centre For Birth Control
Toronto sexual health clinics
Handy WHO guide to the IUD

4 comments
shedoesthecity
shedoesthecity moderator

Thanks for the note!

 

The Handy WHO guide to the IUD link at the bottom of the article has a ton of reliable info that our writer used for this piece. The bits mentioned are in the first few pages. In the post it does mention that increased cramps and heavier periods are a possible side effect (second-to-last paragraph), among other side effects, and doesn't suggest anywhere that they would be good for girls with heavier periods.  In some countries they actually approve the copper IUD for use up to 12 years (pg. 10 in the WHO document), but in Canada it's generally up to five years (source: Planned Parenthood page 2, Sexuality and U—run by the society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada).

 

 

As for the cost of the copper IUD, your price points are accurate for when you purchase it from a family doctor or gynaecologist, but most clinics sell them for way cheaper. The price will differ clinic to clinic, but The Bay Centre sells them for $50. It may go up to $75 or $80 at other clinics, but it's definitely under the $100 mark. Our writer spoke to the experts at The Bay Centre, and we confirmed these prices with a woman at the AIDS & Sexual Health Infoline (416 392 2437).

 

We are by no means suggesting we have all the answers. If you want more information, we encourage you to click on the links that we posted at the end of the article, and to speak to a doctor or nurse practitioner. 

CarrieIsk
CarrieIsk

Ladies, I am all for promoting smart use of contraceptives, but did you do ANY research or talk to any experts before you posted this?

 

The copper IUD is NOT $50, it actually rings in around $200 and is only effective for max two years...The Mirena IUD, is about $350 but it lasts up to five years has only localized hormones, so they don't go into your blood stream.

 

Also the copper IUD is not really an option for any woman who gets intense menstrual cramps, as in increases them 10 fold. Mirena actually decreases the pain of cramping...But there are side effects to all and you should encourage your readers to look them up before they decided on one of these options as IUD insertion is far from a fun process...but as someone who has one, I do think the benefits out weigh the pain.

 

If you are going talk about this kind of subject you should do some research and make it something worth reading instead of just skimming the surface of the issue.

Meesh
Meesh

I would agree with the last post, but I think the article was meant to provide an overview of cheaper birth control options. Anyone reading should have the common sense to know that further research is a must. I would add that the IUD is also especially good for women who smoke, are overweight or over the age of 35. Birth control options decrease tremendously when you factor in these three areas.The IUD or IUS system provides a safe, long term and economical alternative. Note: The IUS IS very expensive in the immediate ($350.00), however benefit plans can decrease the cost and because it protects you from pregnancy over a five year span, the cost does work out to .19¢ a day or $6 a month.