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Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception (EC) is available to all MIT Medical patients. If you think you need EC, call us as soon as possible—but it’s fine to wait until the next morning.
Unless you have experienced trauma or have any other symptoms, there is no advantage to calling us in the middle of the night. And even though EC is called the “morning after pill,” you do not need to take EC first thing in the morning after having had unprotected sex. 
 
If you think you need EC, you can call your primary care provider (PCP) or gynecologist directly. If you don’t have a PCP or haven’t seen a gynecologist at MIT Medical, just call our main line at 617-253-4481, and let them know what you need. 
 

Types of emergency contraception

 
There are three types of EC available. You and your clinician can choose the option that is likely to work best for you.
 
ParaGard IUD
Also known as the “copper IUD,” this is the most effective form of emergency birth control. A clinician must insert the device in your uterus within five days of unprotected sex. It then provides a long-term form of birth control—up to 10 years or until you have it removed. This is also the most effective form of EC for women who are overweight or obese.
 
IUDs are covered in full under the MIT Student Health Insurance Plan (MIT SHIP), and they are covered with a copay for members of the MIT Traditional Health Plan and the MIT Choice Plan. As with all medical care at MIT Medical, IUD insertion is completely confidential. 
 
ella

ella is a pill that is available by prescription only. ella may be effective up to five days after having unprotected sex; however, the sooner you take it, the more effective it will be. ella is more effective than Plan B when a woman is close to ovulating and in women who are overweight. If you’re on another method of hormonal birth control— birth control pills, for instance—Plan B or a copper IUD are better options.

As with all medical care at MIT Medical, an ella prescription is completely confidential. If you fill a prescription with the MIT Student Health Insurance Plan (MIT SHIP), that information remains 100 percent confidential, and you will not pay a copay for ella. However, if you have waived the MIT SHIP, you do not have prescription coverage through MIT. That means you need to pay out of pocket for prescriptions or use the prescription coverage from your other insurance plan. If you are covered through your parents’ plan, they will probably be notified when you fill a prescription. This notification may also include the name of the medication.

Plan B One Step (or generic)
Plan B is the least effective form of EC. It is available over the counter without a prescription for women age 16 and older.
 
Plan B must be taken within three days of having unprotected sex. It is about 95 percent effective when taken within 12 hours after unprotected intercourse, but only about 75 percent effective after that. You may take Plan B multiple times during a menstrual cycle, but it doesn’t work for women who are overweight.
 
Even though one form of EC is available over the counter, it’s best to speak with a clinician first. You can call your PCP or gynecologist directly. Or if you don’t have a PCP or haven’t seen a gynecologist at MIT Medical, just call our main line at 617-253-4481, and let them know what you need. In the case of sexual abuse, you can reach the Violence Prevention and Response team at any time through their 24-hour help line, 617-253-2300.