Call for contraceptive coil and bar to be fully State-funded

Growing demand for long-acting reversible contraception, says Alison Begas

Alison Begas, chief executive of the Dublin Well Woman Centre, said cost was a major barrier to women accessing long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs).

Alison Begas, chief executive of the Dublin Well Woman Centre, said cost was a major barrier to women accessing long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs).

 

Long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs), such as the coil and the contraceptive implant “bar”, should be at the centre of a “fully State-funded contraception scheme”, a leading women’s health advocate has said.

Alison Begas, chief executive of the Dublin Well Woman Centre, said contraception should be available free of charge alongside access to free abortion services adding there was a “growing demand” for LARCs as the most effective forms of contraception. The increases are detailed in the centre’s 2018 annual report published on Tuesday.

“Cost, however, is a major barrier to women accessing LARCs,” she said.

While the contraceptive pill, which must be taken daily, costs about €7 a month plus a six-monthly doctor-consultation fee of about €50, the intra-uterine coil and the contraceptive bar cost about €300 and €260 respectively, including consultations and insertion.

The coil, inserted into the uterus, and the “bar”, inserted under the skin in the upper arm, provide almost 100 per cent protection for between three and 10 years after insertion.

“There is a growing demand among women in Ireland for LARCs – as evident in our report – with many women increasingly aware of the benefits of LARCs when presenting to a Well Woman Clinic doctor for their initial consultation,” said Ms Begas.

This finding, she said, “should be considered fully” by a working group, due to report to the Department of Health next month, on improving access to contraception.