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Contraceptive implant

Contraceptive implant


Other names: contraceptive implant


What is the implant?

The contraceptive implant is a small, flexible, plastic rod placed under the skin of the upper arm which releases a small amount of hormone to prevent pregnancy.


It is one of the most effective forms of contraception and can be used for up to 3 years.



The contraceptive implant is a type of long-acting contraception


The implant is a method of long-acting reversible contraception (or LARC). It is long acting because it can provide contraception for a long period of time - up to 3 years. It is reversible because you can have your implant removed at any point if your plans change and you will return to your normal level of fertility once it is removed.


Learn more about long acting contraception

How does the implant work?

The implant is placed just below the skin of your upper arm where it constantly releases a progestogen hormone called etonogestrel in small doses into your blood stream.


The hormone prevents pregnancy by:


Stopping your ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation).


Thickening the mucus of your cervix making it hard for sperm to enter the uterus and fertilize an egg.

How effective is the implant?

The implant is more than 99% effective with both typical and perfect use. Fewer than 1 in 100 people using the implant will get pregnant in a year.





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Approximately 1 out of every 100 women in a year will experience an unintended pregnancy.




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Approximately 1 out of every 100 women in a year will experience an unintended pregnancy.


Without contraception 85 in 100 women will get pregnant in a year.

Why is it so effective?

The implant is very effective because once it's in your arm, you can't forget to take it, or use it incorrectly.

What is the implant made of?

The contraceptive implant is a flexible plastic rod about the size of a matchstick. It measures 4cm in length by 2mm in diameter. It contains etonogestrel, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone.

    Yes. The contraceptive implant releases a progestogen hormone called etonogestrel throughout the body. It is similar to the hormone progesterone made naturally by your ovaries.


    The implant does not contain oestrogen.

    The implant can be used by women between 18-45


    The implant may not be suitable if you:


    • Think you might be pregnant.


    • Have breast cancer or have had it in the past.


    • Have liver disease.


    • Have unexplained bleeding in between periods or after sex.


    • Have arterial disease or a history of heart disease or stroke.


    • Take other medicines that may affect the implant.


    • Don't want your periods to change.


    • Have a medical condition that may affect which contraception you can use – speak to your GP or practice nurse, or visit your nearest sexual health clinic to discuss further.

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    Talking to your doctor

    Get the information you need for an informed discussion with your doctor.


    Learn more

    PP-UN-WHC-GB-0075 September 2023


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