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Birth control options

Birth control options

If your biological sex is female then you have a lot of options for birth control. It’s a good idea to talk to a health care professional about what will work best for you. The information below is a good place to start.

As of April 1, 2023, BC PharmaCare covers the full cost of many prescription contraceptives. If you’re registered in the Medical Services Plan (MSP), you can access free birth control options. Learn more here.

What kind of options are available?

Hormonal methods

These mimic natural hormones in the woman’s body. Most hormonal methods stop ovaries from releasing an egg every month.

You can receive these prescription birth control methods for free:

Brand Effectiveness
Pill 92%
Patch 92%
NuvaRing 92%
Depo-Provera (Depo shot) 97%

Condoms

Condoms prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.

Type Effectiveness Cost
Male condom 85% $0.50 – $0.50 – $2 each
Female condom 79% $1.50 – $5.00 each

*Some clinics provide free or low-cost condoms for youth and young adults.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

IUDs are a small, t-shaped device that’s inserted into a woman’s uterus by a doctor. IUD is a birth control type you can get for free.

Type Effectiveness
Copper IUD 99.2%
Hormonal IUD 99.9%

Natural Methods

These don’t require the use any products to prevent pregnancy.

Insider Tip

Some natural methods, such as breastfeeding and fertility awareness, may prevent pregnancy. Remember, these methods have higher unplanned pregnancy rates compared to other birth control options.

Learn more about the effectiveness of natural methods.

Emergency Contraception 

Emergency contraception is taken after sex. It’s more effective the sooner it’s taken, but can still help up to five days after unprotected sex.

  • Plan B (the morning after pill) is 95% effective within the first 24 hours of sex and 89% for the next 48 hours. It’s free and no prescription is needed.

How can I get free birth control?

You can get a prescription for birth control from a walk-in clinic, hospital, doctor, pharmacy, or street nurse program.

To access birth control options covered under MSP:

  1. If you currently pay for a prescription, ask a prescriber or pharmacist if it is now free or if they can change it to one that is free
  2. Present the prescription and your BC Services Card at any pharmacy
  3. The pharmacist will fill your prescription for free

How can I get birth control options that aren't covered?

Some birth control options are partially covered, while others have no coverage.

You can explore these resources:

Insider Tip

If you’re on income assistance, the Mirena IUD is covered through Pharmacare.

If you’re status Aboriginal, several birth control methods are covered through the Non-Insured Health Benefits program.

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