We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Copper IUD?

By Bethney Foster
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A copper IUD is a device that is inserted into a woman’s uterus as a long-term form of non-hormonal birth control. Once inserted, the copper IUD, or intrauterine device, can remain in place for up to a decade. Most studies show the copper IUD to be more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.

IUDs are used more than any other type of contraceptive. There are more than 10 types of copper IUDs available to women. They come in T-shapes and U-shapes, and one company is now manufacturing a type that is flexible in shape.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has approved only one type of copper IUD, ParaGard. The Paragard IUD is a plastic T-shaped device that is 1.25 inches (3.17 cm) at the top of the T and 1.38 inches (3.49 cm) long. It is wrapped in copper.

The GyneFix is a type of IUD primarily available to women in China and Europe. It is a plastic string of copper beads. The GyneFix 330 and the GyneFix 200 are the only shapeless IUDs available.

IUDs must be inserted and removed by a physician or trained medical professional, such as a nurse practitioner. The woman will likely be given a local anesthesia before the procedure takes place. The device is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus.

Exactly how a copper IUD prevents pregnancy isn’t known for certain. The most common explanation is that the IUD prevents the movement of sperm to fertilize an egg. The IUD may also interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg, and the copper may act as a spermicide.

The most common side effects reported are increased cramping and bleeding during the first menstrual cycles following insertion. Some women also report lower back pain for the first few weeks following insertion. The most common reason women become pregnant when using an IUD is because their bodies expel the IUD and they are unaware that it is no longer in place. Younger women and women who have never had children are more likely to expel the IUD. If the body is going to expel the device, it will most likely happen within the first year of its use.

As the copper IUD does not contain steroids, as many other types of contraceptives do, this type of birth control is not thought to affect fertility. It is thought a woman can become pregnant as soon as the month following the IUD’s removal. If a woman becomes pregnant while an IUD is in place, she should have the IUD removed immediately. There are increased risks of miscarriage, infection, and birth defects if an IUD is in place during pregnancy.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.