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Contraceptive Implant

What is it?

A small 40mm flexible tube containing progesterone (this is a hormone that the body usually produces).

The implant is inserted under the skin of your upper arm by a trained doctor or nurse, and it lasts for three years.

You can have the implant removed at any time, and once the implant is removed, you could get pregnant as easily as if you had never had the implant.

How does it work?

The implant stops the release of an egg from the ovary by slowly releasing a hormone (progestogen) into your body. It thickens the cervical mucus and thins the womb lining. This makes it harder for sperm to move through your cervix, and less likely for your womb to accept a fertilised egg.

How effective it is?

If implanted correctly, it is more than 99% effective. Less than one woman in 1000 will get pregnant in one year.

Added benefits?

  • It is very useful for women who do not want to get pregnant for a while. Once the implant is in place, you do not have to think about contraception for three years. 
  • It can be useful for women who cannot use contraception that contains the hormone estrogen. 
  • It is very useful for women who find it difficult to take a pill at the same time every day. 
  • It is not affected by antibiotics.


What else should I know?

The implant is put in by a specially trained doctor or nurse. They will numb your skin first and then insert the implant with a small needle type device.  A common side effect of the implant is that your periods stop (amenorrhoea). It is not harmful but you may want to consider this before deciding to have an implant.

The Implant will prevent pregnancy if used correctly but will not protect against sexually transmitted infections so you may also need to use a condom.

Where can I get it?

Local sexual health clinic, find your nearest clinic (please be aware that implants are not available at St. Peters or Loughborough on Saturdays).

Choices Service for under 25's


Some GPs, for contact details or to find a GP near you visit NHS choices