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ParaGard is a contraceptive primarily prescribed for preventing pregnancy in women of reproductive age. There may also be occasions where a healthcare provider may prescribe ParaGard for "off-label" uses, such as for emergency contraception after unprotected sex. This product comes as an intrauterine device (IUD) that is inserted into the uterus and left in place for up to 10 to 12 years.
What Is ParaGard Used For?ParaGard® (the copper IUD) is an intrauterine device (IUD) approved for long-term pregnancy prevention. It is the only copper IUD approved for use in the United States. It is a small, flexible plastic and copper device that does not contain any hormones.
Although officially approved for up to 10 years of use, many healthcare providers now recommend that it can be used for up to 12 years (based on current research). Also, your healthcare provider can remove it earlier if you desire. After you have a ParaGard IUD removed, you can have another one inserted right away.
ParaGard is highly effective at preventing pregnancy, as long as it stays in place. In fact, less than 1 percent of women will get pregnant while using ParaGard. The high effectiveness of ParaGard is largely due to the fact that there is little room for user error -- no pills to take, no condoms to remember, etc. However, ParaGard is not a permanent form of contraception. You can get pregnant right away after having it removed.
Importantly, ParaGard does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
How Does This Contraceptive Work?Unlike many other forms of birth control, ParaGard does not contain any hormones. It is inserted into the uterus by your healthcare provider, where it can remain for up to 10 years; however, some healthcare providers are comfortable leaving it in place for up to 12 years.
It is not exactly clear how ParaGard works to prevent pregnancy. It has been suggested that the IUD may interfere with the sperm's ability to reach the egg, block fertilization of the egg, or prevent implantation of an embryo.