The Dublin Well Woman Centre is advocating for the provision of a fully State-funded, free-to-the-patient contraceptive service, and that appropriate resourcing is dedicated to ensuring that family planning doctors and GPs are able to offer LARCs in the range of options they discuss with the patient.
Based on our clinical experience, it is clear that Ireland’s sexual health needs have changed, with most people now having a number of sexual partners throughout their lives. Women live longer and consequently remain sexually active for longer; their needs around contraception, fertility, reproductive and sexual health, and sexual identity are more complex and relevant over longer periods. Quality services must be in place to meet these needs.
Arising from the principle of choice of service provider that governs best-practice in women’s healthcare, and in provision of abortion services, we believe that women should have the right to choose their form of contraception, in consultation with their family-planning doctor or GP.
A consultation on contraception also naturally leads into a conversation around safe sex and the possibility of sexual infections. STIs in women can have a significant effect, including pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Therefore, screening for STIs in at-risk populations should form part of a holistic sexual health consultation.
Contraceptive pills (OCP) are often seen as the easiest option – and they are for some women – but others experience side effects, have problems remembering to take them, or have medical conditions where they are best avoided or absolutely contraindicated. This has led to a failure rate of almost 10% in Year 1 in respect of OCPs.
We uphold ‘Fit and Forget’ contraceptives (LARCs) as being both the most effective form of contraception, and also the most cost-effective form of contraception in the long run.