Start your contraception journey here

Three simple steps to getting a form of contraception that’s right for you.

  1. What’s right for me?

    As a first step, review the 'My Profile' questions provided below. These questions will give you a flavour of the kind of questions your doctor may ask you during a visit to discuss contraception options and why they are relevant. It will also help you to think about what you are looking for from a contraceptive so that the discussion can cover that. It is not an exhaustive list – depending on your circumstances your doctor may ask other questions not listed here or indeed may not ask all of the questions. If a topic that is relevant to your circumstances is not raised, don’t hesitate to mention it so that the option you and your doctor agree on meets your needs as well as possible.  (Please note, your answers will not be stored anywhere on the website, they are just for your use)

  2. What are my options?

    The next step is checking out what’s available to you and with around 12 different contraceptive methods available, ranging from daily options to the more long-acting reversible options, there will be something to suit you.

  3. How do I change?

    The third and final step is going to have a consultation with a healthcare professional. They are easy to talk to as they are there to help you – but if you need some tips – click here.


My profile

Q1 – How old are you?

Why is this relevant?
If you are under 17 and you are thinking about having sex, you might like to speak to someone in total confidence and get more information. To get non-judgmental support and advice, go to

Q2 – Do you smoke?

Why is this relevant?
If you are a smoker who is over 35, then combined hormonal contraception, containing oestrogen and progestogen, may not be appropriate for you. Progestogen-only contraception (for example a progestogen-only pill, a contraceptive injection, a contraceptive implant or an intrauterine system [IUS]) or, contraception which does not contain any hormones (for example, an intrauterine device [IUD], condoms or diaphragm/cap) may be an option for women who can't take oestrogen.

Q3 – Which of the following applies to you?

Q4 – If you have tried a form of contraception in the past, please select it or them from the list below:

Q5 – If you have tried a form of contraception in the past, have you experienced any of the following side effects?

Q6 – Do you, or anyone in your immediate family, suffer from:

Why is this relevant?
Suffering from conditions such as high blood pressure or being overweight may mean that combined hormonal methods of contraception are not a suitable option for you. Progestogen-only methods of contraception may be an alternative option for women who can't take oestrogen.

My Lifestyle

Q7 – Are you with a long-term partner?

Why is this relevant?
Starting a new relationship and talking about your sexual histories can be tricky but it is important to consider when choosing a contraceptive. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including syphilis, chlamydia, genital warts and herpes have been on the increase in Ireland for a number or years. Is there a possibility that either you or your partner has been exposed to a STI? If so, it's worth visiting your GP, nurse, local GUM or family planning clinic for peace of mind. Remember: condoms offer protection against most STIs so you may decide to use these in addition to another method of contraception.

Q8 – What is your main reason for using a contraceptive?

Why is this relevant?
Not only are there around 12 different contraceptive methods available, there are also a number of different reasons for using some methods of contraception. The more information you give to your healthcare professional the better they can help you decide which option will meet your needs.

Q9 – Have you had a baby?

Why is this relevant?
If you want to delay having children in the near future then a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) may be suitable. LARCs are not permanent forms of contraception and are reversible.
If you don't want children in the future you can opt for a permanent form of contraception. Female sterilisation involves blocking or cutting the fallopian tubes (the tubes which allow the egg to pass from the ovary to the uterus) so the egg and the sperm cannot meet. Men can have vasectomies (‘the snip’), in which the tubes that carry sperm are cut and sealed. Neither of these options can be easily reversed and they may not be effective immediately.

Q10 – Which of the following best reflects your lifestyle?

Why is this relevant?
The busy schedule of student life can sometimes result in irregular sleeping patterns, whether that’s due to swotting through the night before an exam, hitting all the parties and gigs or simply staying in bed all day after an early lecture. Remembering to take a contraceptive pill could slip your mind. Travelling can also potentially have an impact on the effectiveness of some methods of contraception for example, the contraceptive pill, if the time-zone differences between countries are not taken into account in your pill taking routine. You should consult your health care professional for advice when travelling.

Q11 – Do you find it inconvenient or hard to remember to take a pill every day?

Why is this relevant?
If you're too busy or may forget to deal with taking a contraceptive pill every day, there are methods which do not rely on the user having to remember to take or use something every day. Some of the options that may be suitable for someone with a busy lifestyle are: a contraceptive skin patch; a vaginal ring; a progestogen-only hormone injection; intrauterine devices (IUDs); intrauterine systems (IUSs); contraceptive implants. Unlike permanent procedures, you can stop using these longer-term methods when you want to try for a baby.

Making your mind up:

It’s time to take the next step and go and see a healthcare professional. Remember there are around 12 options and with the help of a healthcare professional you can decide what’s right for you. You can choose more than one option. (Click here for a quick overview of all the options).

  • Daily contraception (e.g. daily contraceptive pill)
  • Weekly contraception (e.g. contraceptive patch)
  • Monthly (e.g. vaginal ring)
  • Long-acting reversible contraception (e.g. contraceptive implant, contraceptive injection, IUD or IUS)
  • An additional method to those above to help prevent most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (e.g. condom)
  • Heat of the moment contraception (e.g. condom)
  • Other

The information on this website is educational only and is not intended to be used for any self-diagnosis purposes nor to replace the advice of your doctor or healthcare professional. Please consult your doctor or healthcare professional for further information on your contraceptive options. This website is intended for use by residents of the Republic of Ireland only. This website is developed and maintained by MSD Ireland (Human Health). See for more information.

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Job code WOMN-1178118-0000 Date of preparation: July 2016