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Hi everyone! I'm a 31-year-old NP.

I've had my UT-380 short copper IUD for almost exactly five years - this is like a "mini paragaurd," an IUD specifically made smaller so that they're less likely to expel (my first paragaurd expelled after 6 weeks). I was fortunate enough to get that IUD inserted in France, since they weren't available in the states at the time (I'm from the US, but have spent over 4 years living in Europe). This IUD is good for five years, instead of the 10 years of baby-free-time that the paragaurd gives you.

Now that my five years are up, I'm ready for my next IUD. It is absolutely the right birth control for me, so I have no hesitations getting a new one. The question is... do you think I should be extra careful when having sex in these days? I have a screening appointment for my next IUD in two weeks, and hopefully I can have the new IUD put in at my following period (about 6 weeks from now, if all goes well). But where do you think this "five years" or "ten years" thing comes from? Has anyone here ever gotten pregnant because they left their IUD in too long and the effectiveness wore out?

I've tried to do some research about this, but I'm not really coming up with any answers. If I became pregnant it wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing in the world to have a baby right now, but I really don't want to become pregnant while I still have an IUD in place.

I'm currently living in Amsterdam (Netherlands) so I won't have any troubles with cost or insurance. My only question/concern is if a similar mini-copper-iud is available in this country. I'm assuming it is.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 24th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
When in doubt, always use another method of protection. It's better to aire on the safe-side.
Sep. 26th, 2010 08:50 am (UTC)
Sep. 25th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC)
managing contraception is a resource for both clinicians as well as everyone else. on their site they state that the paragard is now good for 12 years. 12 years is the unofficial new official length the paraguard is supposed to be good for. you can google "paragard 12 years" to find more info, but I recommend managing contraception as a source because it is a source trusted by midwives, NPs, and doctors. you can find out more here, specifically the info about the 12 years (see 2nd paragraph):


my point being that if the paraguard is now good for 12 years, it stands to reason that your IUD is possibly if not likely good for up to 6 years; so you may want to still use a backup method just to be safe, but if you are planning to get a new IUD relatively soon, you are probably covered!
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
hey, thanks for this! that's great!
Sep. 25th, 2010 10:55 am (UTC)
I'm a little puzzled by why your IUD is rated for only 5 years because the number at the end, 380, is the same as the one associated with the Paragard. My understanding is that this number relates to the surface area of copper on the device, which determines how effective it is and how long it can be relied on. I'm interested in finding out what your doctor says in 2 weeks.

If I were you, I'd use backup, but I'm generally quite paranoid. Logically, an extra 2 weeks out of 5 years doesn't sound like a big deal, but I can't imagine an unplanned pregnancy not being the worst thing in the world.
Sep. 25th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Maybe she got the model number wrong?

But I agree with b_d_s, based on the regular paragard logic if it is rated at 5 years, you probably have another year or so of unofficial effectiveness. It certainly won't magically stop working at exactly 5 years. (I have regular paragard, the paperwork all says 10 years but my gyno and the filled out stuff from them says 12).

It all comes down to your personal comfort though, if you're gonna be paraniod for 6 weeks....use backup. A condom sure beats worrying or taking Plan B.
Sep. 26th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
Maybe there's less copper in mine because it's smaller? I really don't know...
Sep. 25th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
You're going to be fine. It seems that they just haven't done studies past a certain length of time for any given IUD and so assign the deadline as the most recent trial time. ParaGard used to only be approved for 10 years, now it's 12, I've read anecdotes of use up to 13 years, and it's been speculated that it might work for 20. Honestly, studies aside, I think the big deal with switching out non-hormonal IUDs just stems from a fear of embedding, which is a really low risk to begin with. Non-hormonals don't "run out" or seem to depreciate in efficacy, judging by what I've read. Relax; you're still protected. ^-^
Sep. 25th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)

Evidently, ParaGard was only approved for 4 years at first, then 6, then 8, then 10. Just a matter of letting time pass and getting through the studies, really.

Sep. 26th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
this is exactly the kind of answer I wanted to hear. :) I can't imagine that a day would come when the IUD would just "turn off," but I wondered if anyone had first-hand experience with running past their expiration date.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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