A woman can get pregnant if a man’s sperm reaches one of her eggs (ova). Contraception tries to stop this happening by keeping the egg and sperm apart or by stopping egg production. One method of contraception is the contraceptive implant.
We have included further information about the implant below to help you make an informed choice about your contraception. After reading it, if you think the implant is the right contraception choice for you pop along to one of our clinics and have a chat with one of our specialised nurses or doctors - no appointment is needed.
The implant can be put in at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you and our nurse/doctor are reasonably sure you are not pregnant. If the implant is not working for you it can be removed at any time by one of our trained doctors or nurses (appointment only).
About the implant
- if implanted correctly, it's more than 99% effective
- it's very useful for women who know they don't want to get pregnant for a while. Once the implant is in place, you don't have to think about contraception for three years
- it can be useful for women who can't use contraception that contains oestrogen
- it's very useful for women who find it difficult to take a pill at the same time every day
- if you have side effects, the implant can be taken out. You can have the implant removed at any time and your natural fertility will return very quickly
- when it's first put in you may feel some bruising, tenderness or swelling around the implant
- in the first year after the implant is fitted your periods may become irregular, lighter, heavier or longer. This usually settles down after the first year
- a common side effect of the implant is that your periods stop (amenorrhoea). It's not harmful, but you may want to consider this before deciding to have an implant
- some medications can make the implant less effective and additional contraceptive precautions need to be followed when you are taking these medications
- the implant does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By using condoms as well as the implant you'll help to protect yourself against STIs
- the implant is a small flexible tube about 40mm long that's inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It's inserted by a trained nurse or doctor and lasts for three years
How the implant works
The implant steadily releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream. Progestogen is similar to the natural hormone progesterone, which is released by a woman's ovaries during her period.
The continuous release of progestogen:
- stops a woman releasing an egg every month (ovulation)
- thickens the mucus from the cervix (entrance to the womb), making it difficult for sperm to pass through to the womb and reach an unfertilised egg
- makes the lining of the womb thinner so that it is unable to support a fertilised egg
Download the Family Planning Association guide to the contraceptive implant.