IUD Access


Despite a documented need and evidence of IUD effectiveness, women face numerous barriers to obtaining IUDs.

  • Provider Bias and Public Skepticism: Many patients and health care providers are misinformed about the benefits and potential risks of modern IUDs. A 2009-2010 study of office-based providers and Title X family planning providers found that 30% of those surveyed had misperceptions about the safety of the IUD for nulliparous women.[i] These misperceptions were more common among providers receiving medical training before 1985 and among providers working at facilities that did not keep IUDs on-site.
  • Restrictive Provider Protocols: IUDs can be inserted on the same day as contraceptive counseling, but two-visit insertion protocols are common due to perceived cost, supply, and screening issues.[ii], [iii]
  • Misinformation and lack of knowledge among patients: In a 2009 survey of 1800 unmarried, young people aged 18-29, 75% reported having heard of IUDs; however, most reported that they knew little or nothing about IUDs.  Nearly half of young people believed incorrectly that IUDs could migrate to other parts of the body and cause infections.  Additionally, 34% of young people reported incorrectly that birth control pills were more effective than IUDs for preventing pregnancy.[iv]


[i] Tyler, C.P, Witeman, M. K. Z., Curtis, K.M., & Kapp, N. “Health Care Provider Attitudes and Practices Related to Intrauterine Devices for Nulliparous Women. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2012, 199(4), 9. Accessed from: http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2012/04000/Health_Care_Provider_Attitudes_and_Practices.11.aspx#

[ii] Bergin, A., Tristan, S., Terplan, M., Gilliam, M. L., Whitaker, A. K. “A missed opportunity for care: two-visit IUD insertion protocols inhibit placement.” Contraception 86, 6 (2012):694-7. Accessed from:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22770798

[iii] Thompson, K. M.J., Speidel, J. J., Saporta, V., Waxman, N.J., Harper, C. C. “Contraceptive policies affect post-abortion provision of long-acting reversible contraception.” Contraception 83, 1 (2010): 41-7. Accessed from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21134502

[iv] Kaye, K., Suellentrop, K., and Sloup, C. “The Fog Zone: How Misperceptions, Magical Thinking, and Ambivalence Put Young Adults at Risk for Unplanned Pregnancy.” Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. 2009: 36-38. Accessed from: http://thenationalcampaign.org/sites/default/files/resource-supporting-download/fogzone_0.pdf