Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC), which include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the birth control implant, are each nearly 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
Unlike other forms of birth control, this category doesn’t require “perfect use” to be effective. Once an LARC is in place, users don’t have to take any additional steps to prevent pregnancy. However, while LARCs are cost-effective and easy to use, several misconceptions still exist. Review the facts about LARCs.
- LARCs are safe for almost everyone, including people who haven’t had children. Older forms of IUDs sold in the 1970s had several safety concerns. However, newer forms of IUDs are safe and used by thousands of women who wish to prevent pregnancy.
- You do not need to have had a child to have an IUD. In fact, two kinds of IUDs, Liletta and Skyla, are specifically approved for women without children. The birth control implant is just as safe and effective as an IUD.
- If used for at least a year, LARCs are the most cost-effective form of birth control. IUDs and implants can have a high upfront cost. The cost of insertion can be up to $1,000. However, if you have health insurance, your insurer must cover LARC methods.
- LARCs do not lead to infertility. Once an implant or IUD is removed, fertility returns quickly in most women. This is true for teenagers, women who have had children, and women who have not had children.
- LARCs have no minimum requirement for how long they stay inserted. If you decide a LARC isn’t right for you anymore, it can be removed easily.
While LARCs do help prevent pregnancy, they do not prevent sexually transmitted infections—including human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, gonorrhea and other infections. If your teen is sexually active, she should use barrier methods, such as the male condom, to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections and get tested regularly.