Contraceptive Technology and Reproductive Health Series: Home Page Contraceptive Technology and Reproductive Health Series Back to FHI Website
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
Introduction Contents Post-Test References Go To Presenter Info


Section 1

- Introduction
- Objectives
- Safety
- Overview
- Early IUDs
- Copper IUDs
- Mechanisms
> Failure Rates
- Comparison
- Method Costs
- Characteristics
- Characteristics
- Incidence Rate
- Reducing Risk
- Perforations
- Ectopic
- Expulsions
- Rates

Section 2
Section 3


Previous pageNext page

Section 1 - Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

Contraceptive Failure Rates

Contraceptive Failure Rates chart

Source: Trussell, 1994; Jones/Forrest, 1992 (COC typical use data).
Slide 8

Copper-bearing IUDs are among the most effective contraceptive options available. In particular, users of the TCu 380A experience very low failure rates, only about one percent. This slide shows the difference in contraceptive failure rates for different contraceptive methods. For each method the left-hand point, indicated by the yellow rectangles, shows how effective a method can be when used both correctly and consistently. The right-hand point, indicated by the red rectangles, shows how effective the method is during actual or typical use. This typical use rate is based on results from studies done in the United States among what are considered to be typical users. Typical users include those who may or may not use the method correctly and consistently.

As can be seen on the slide, the difference between the rates for correct and consistent use and typical use is greater for some methods than for others. For methods such as oral contraceptives and condoms there is a greater difference between the two rates. This is because these methods depend heavily on the user receiving adequate instructions so that they are able to use the method correctly and consistently. For other methods, such as sterilization and injectables, the two rates are the same because they are less influenced by other factors. There is very little difference between the two rates for users of the TCu 380A. The very few pregnancies among IUD users can be due to several factors. These include the skill of the person to insert the IUD correctly, the age of the user and unnoticed expulsion of the IUD.

Learner Note: Failure rates vary from country to country because they are dependent on many factors. Thus, studies report varying rates, and it is impossible to calculate one precise rate for any method. The three main factors that influence the effectiveness of any contraceptive method include the inherent effectiveness of the method itself, programmatic issues, and whether or not the method is used correctly and consistently. Correct use is dependent not only on the user, but is influenced by a variety of programmatic factors. To facilitate correct and consistent use of any contraceptive method, programs must offer a variety of contraceptive options with adequate counseling for clients and proper follow-up care. Clients must also receive complete and instructive information on how to use the method, and on the importance of correct and consistent use. Some methods depend greatly on the technical competence of the provider to properly administer the methods. All methods must also be accessible and affordable to the user.



Previous page      Next page