Dispelling myths about oral, or hormonal emergency contraception

  • Several studies have shown that facilitating access to EHC does NOT increase sexual or contraceptive risk-taking behaviour1
  • A number of studies show that women and adolescents with greater access to EC are NOT more likely to engage in unprotected intercourse, and are more likely to adopt an ongoing contraceptive method after EHC use2,3
  • Use of EHCs has NO effect on future fertility1,4
  • If a woman is already pregnant, it is too late for EC. Emergency contraception does NOT interrupt an existing pregnancy or harm a developing embryo1,5  
  • EHCs do NOT protect against STIs.6 Only condoms protect against sexually transmitted infections.
  • EHCs do NOT provide contraceptive cover for unprotected intercourse in the days following intake6
1. World Health Organization. (In association with the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Department of Reproductive Health and Research). Fact sheet on the safety of levonorgestrel-alone emergency contraceptive pills. Available at: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2010/WHO_RHR_HRP_10.06_eng.pdf Accessed October 2013.
2. Polis et al. The Cochrane Library 2013, Issue 7.
3. Gainer E et al. Contraception 2003; 68(2): 117-24.
4. ellaOne® Summary of Product Characteristics.
5. HRA Pharma Data on file. Clinical overview.
6. NHS choices – emergency contraception. Available at http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/contraception-guide/Pages/emergency-contraception.aspx. Accessed October 2013.