If a condom broke and I had ejaculated, could a pill help my girlfriend not get pregnant?
Yes. Condoms rarely break, but it does happen occasionally. In that case, emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) may help your girlfriend avoid pregnancy.
There are different types of ECPs, often called the morning-after pill. One type, levonorgestrel (brand names: Plan B and Next Choice), has been on the market for a while. It works up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex.
The other type, ulipristal acetate (brand name: ella), was recently approved for use in the United States and can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse.
Levonorgestrel ECPs are often available without a prescription to those 17 years and older (a prescription is required for those 16 and younger). Prescriptions are required for all ages for ulipristal.
If you're interested in ECPs, your best bet is to call a doctor, nurse practitioner, or health clinic right away. Or, if your girlfriend is 17 or older, you can buy levonorgestrel ECPs over the counter at a pharmacy.
To find out who can provide or prescribe ECPs in your area, visit the website for The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
Emergency contraception is most effective when taken as soon as possible after intercourse, although some studies have shown that ECPs can still work up to 120 hours after intercourse.
Taking ECPs is not a guarantee against pregnancy — about 1 or 2 in every 100 women will still get pregnant despite taking the pill. And ECPs don't prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). So if a condom breaks (or a couple has unprotected sex), it's a good idea to get tested for STDs.
Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: March 2011
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|Planned Parenthood Info for Teens This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.|
|National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy This site provides teen pregnancy facts, resources, and prevention tips.|
|Planned Parenthood Federation of America Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|What if the Condom Breaks? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Condom Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to find out how condoms work - and how well they protect against pregnancy and STDs.|
|Emergency Contraception Emergency contraception is used for emergencies only -for example, if a condom breaks or slips off during sex. It is also available to teens who are forced to have unprotected sex.|
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