The Cost of Birth Control

birth control

We talk a lot on the site about tips and advice when you are trying to get pregnant. However, there are many times during our lives when getting pregnant is something we are decidedly trying NOT to do.

For some women, religious or cultural beliefs may influence their choice of methods when avoiding contraception. For the rest of the women out there, methods may be chosen largely based on cost or convenience. A new study suggests that the issue of cost may in fact be costing many women much more, when their low-cost options fail to prevent pregnancy.

In a new study, which followed close to 7,500 women over three years, the effectiveness of various methods in preventing pregnancy was tracked. “Over a period of three years, 9.4% of women using birth control pills, patches, or vaginal rings became pregnant accidentally, compared to just 0.9% of women who opted for IUDs or implants.” That means that if a woman chooses the pill, for example, instead of an IUD, her chances of an unintended pregnancy are 20 times more likely.

Of course, the study provided women with a choice of methods, free of charge. And cost is a major issue for many women. With long-term options like IUDs or implants, the up-front cost can be considerable ($500 or more) and often is not covered by insurance. So once again, women find themselves limited in their options, despite the evidence that these long-term methods are much more successful in their intended use.

Which birth control option do you use, and why? Does this study make you want to change? Will you?





What do you think?

The Cost of Birth Control

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Mihaela says:

    If you don’t forget brushing your teeth, you won’t forget getting your pills. If you don’t forget turning off your lamp when going to bed, you won’t forget taking them. W/ Obama Care Act BCP are free.

  2. Valerie says:

    I use nexplanon implant and i have had no problems with effectiveness i only got more spottng weight gain and occasional headaches. I tried paraguard and it caused me unbareable pain. I tried birth control pills and i had a hard time remembering to take them. I did the depovera shot for 2 years and it depleated my bone mass bc it takes the calcium and vitamin d outta yr bones so i stopped using it all together and i made me gain the most weight outta all these. NEXPLANON i will continue to use bc i dont have any medical issues with it and i dont have to work about it causing an epotopic pregnancy bc it works only on hormones like the pill does… It stays in yr arm and you forget about it pretty much for 3 years.

  3. Christina says:

    I got the depo shot. Condoms did not work for us, I refuse the I u d, because of the chance of a tubal pregnancy, I would always forget the pill, and I have never tried the implant or nuva ring

  4. Does anyone have an IUD? I’m going to get one and I’m curious

    • gfeld says:

      i had mirena but felt like my back was pregnant. i was on it for two months and then asked them to remove it because it was too painful. As soon as they removed it, the weight I felt on my back the past few months was gone. My sister did not have that experience with mirena. She had it in for 3 years and loved it! Everyone is different.

  5. alliekat1987 says:

    I was on the pill when my husband and I got pregnant. We just took it as a blessing and moved on, but I can see how for some that could be a problem.

  6. I plan on breastfeeding and taking birth control. Is there a certain one I should take while breastfeeding or what?

    Help me please.

    • Hi MommyJocelyn! You should ask your doctor what they suggest, but for me, I used the Mirena, which is an IUD and not supposed to effect your milk supply while breastfeeding. There’s also one called the ParaGard that is hormone free, so it definitely wouldn’t be an issue for breastfeeding. Both of those are longer term birth controls, but you can take them out when you’re ready and get pregnant right away. Again, ask your doctor what they suggest, as they might know of other forms of birth control that can work while breastfeeding as well. I have been very happy with the Mirena though 🙂 Good luck!

  7. Kali says:

    try the FAM method: Fertility Awareness Method!!! It’s natural, free and has tons of other benefits!! “Taking charge of your Fertility”- Read it people!

    • LoveMy7Kids says:

      Agreed, the negative health affects are so not worth it. Even though we’ve chosen to have lots of children, we’ve successfully spaced our pregnancies using natural means. Also, because of the information I gained about my own cycle, I was able to pinpoint the cause of a potentially serious thyroid problem and found help with a great local homeopathic doctor who used my charting to help diagnose and treat me. I could see in my charts that my body was healing itself. Information is power!

  8. Misty says:

    I have almost always used to health dept. to receive birth control. That way it is based on your income not what the drug company want to charge you.

  9. Sierra says:

    I used to be on Depo Provera which is a shot you get once every three months. Costs $35–$100 per injection, plus any exam fees.

  10. Tara says:

    well honestly its sad that children have become viewed as such a burden by society and the cheapest forms of birth control are often the worst for your bodily health.

  11. Rebecca says:

    Did you go for training or where did you get your information to start the billings Method. I’m interested.

  12. mommyof2 says:

    i have the mirena because my isurance was getting dropped a couple of months after haveing baby#2 but i dont want anymore right now and i knew we probably wouldnt have been able to afford BC. It has worked awesome for me so far even lightened my menstrual..and when i got it i asked the dr. how much it was to get it removed because i probably wont have insurance and its not to bad a 100 dollars i know thats a lot in some situations but to me its worth it especially when i have a 2 yr old and 6 mth old and not wanting anymore for at least 3 yrs. If i would have gotten on the pill we would already be prego again because i dont remember to take it and my first one was concieved after missing a day

  13. Rebecca says:

    I think Deborah was hilarious. It’s true though. I think that there is something to say about being in a stable committed relationship. If you have sex you can get pregnant. That’s why I believe it belongs within the bonds of marriage. My husband and I have used various birth control methods but for now we are just using condoms since we plan to get pregnant sometime this year (after we know when and where we will be transferred next) and I decided it would be nice to avoid all the extra hormones for awhile. But if we have an "accident" we know that that child needed to come at that time. It may not be convenient but we would make it work.

  14. Rebecca says:

    Are you saying that breastfeeding is birth control? Because it isn’t fool proof. Yes I breastfed my babies a little over a year but I also took the mini pill (and it kept me from menstruating!). My mom got pregnant with me while exclusively breastfeeding my brother who was 3 months old. My oldest sister got pregnant with her second while breastfeeding (her sons are 10 months apart). Her second child was premature. Not sure what you are saying but breast feeding is not birth control.

    • gfeld says:

      It is absolutely not a form of birth control. Heard many stories of people getting pregnant while breastfeeding exclusively. If you really don’t want to become pregnant, use a real form of birth control.

  15. Rebecca says:

    Some people are extremely fertile and yes children are a blessing, but we all have our own agency. I try not to have my children too close together because I know how rough that could be on my body. A mother’s health is often the reason for birth control. I feel that I would be abusing myself by having every child I could possibly bare. Having 2 children accidentally within a year is common in my family. I do want to have a good-sized family but I want to be healthy enough to care for them (or survive each birth). Other women have reasons not to have children. They need to make their own choice and we are not the ones judge. That is left to God.

  16. Rebecca says:

    I breastfed both of my kiddos for about 13 months on the mini-pill (progestin only pill) It is less hormones than the normal pill and I never had problems with my milk production. They come in generic forms and are much less pricey than nuva ring. I didn’t think I could handle taking a pill, but I just took it when my hubby’s alarm went off in the morning. So small I just swallow w/out water. If I couldn’t remember if I took it, I would just look at my pills and make sure that days pill was gone before we got busy. After weaning my 2nd I went off the mini pill because it doesn’t work well without the nursing hormones. We are just using condoms, or if in a pinch the pull-out method. We want to wait at least few more months before baby #3 but if it happened we could deal with it (as in have the baby). I would never abort. If a baby was sent to us unexpected than it was meant to be. We can’t control everything in this world, but God knows what he’s doing.

  17. Sasoo says:

    I use Nuvaring so that I don’t have to remember the pill every day. However, the cost can become very high after 12 months because of my insurance plan.

    • gfeld says:

      i used it after my 4th child. had a very pleasant experience with it and will be using it again when i stop breastfeeding in a few months.

  18. Brittney says:

    I’m 30 and had never taken any birth control. After having our 3rd child in Feb. found out it would be extremely high risk for me to get pregnant before 2yrs. So felt it was necessary, after a lot of deciding, I went with the Mirena. No hormones and no needing to remember.

  19. Leslie says:

    well I didn’t use birth control for seven years and finally my daughter came along in 2010. I have use the shot and ring, but once again back to my old habit. No birth control since december of 2011 and still no baby. With my husband and my work schedule to find time for sex and me to eat healthy again. since I went back to drinking no water in my diet. I started drinking water again since feb of 2012. well see if child two comes, if not we are happy with the one.

  20. suemckay says:

    I missed two BC pills a couple of years ago on a wild weekend with my boyfriend and now I have a lovely 1 year old daughter! A liitle tough to handle while I am in nursing school, but she is still awesome! I used BC pills since about age 19 because I have severe bleeding issues with my periods. The pills keep me evened out and I know when a period is coming and how long it will be. I have two other children (planned) that came about within a couple of months of stopping the pill each time. The pill works great for me, although I have to be sure to take it every day! It has never caused a fertillity issue with me. My "surprise baby" came about when I was 45, so I seem to have great fertility. I might have been able to give the Duggars a run for the money if I chooses that huge amount of kids. 3 is good for me. I tried to use Depo, but it actually made me have a continual, never-stop period and it never got better, so I dropped it and went back to my trusty pill. I have no insurance so it costs me about $32/mo. out of pocket. My boyfriend just had a vasectomy due to my high fertility (we’re done with babies at our ages…Just want to raise the cuties we have—-6 between us!). However, due to the bleeding I went thru before, I am frightened to drop the pills. Maybe I’ll try it but I’ll jump back on the pills if I have more trouble.

  21. Jo says:

    I understand the purpose of BC, but I strongly caution over use of them. My family has a long history of endometriosis, and because of this history and symptoms I was put on the pill at 14. I stayed on the pill even after I got married, but 6 months later found out I was pregnant. So I am in the % of error that got pregnant. After I quit nursing, I went back on the pill to help control my weird cycle and pain. I was on various pills ( none really worked well for me) for 3 years when we decided to get pregnant again. I was pregnant with only 5 months of trying. After baby #2, my symptoms escalated which I had surgery to minimize the endometriosis lesions and I was put on the depo shot to stop my massive bleeding. SINCE then, my husband and I have to now use fertility drugs to get pregnant. If we don’t I miscarry (4 of them). So please use caution when changing your natural hormones. Also if you have an underlying health condition, even if you don’t know about it, there is a risk. I now know my extreme reactions to the pills was Lupus flares, but I wasn’t diagnosed with it yet.
    I tried an IUD but started hemorrhaging so it had to come out. I cannot take any hormones due to a clotting disorder.
    While my story seems like a crazy fluke, I have several friends who used BC from a young age, and when they were ready for a family had infertility issues. My husband and I are on the fence about doing the whole fertility drug thing again, but he would like another baby (#6). Just be careful!
    PS the insurance question doesn’t really apply because our insurance covered all the BC well (i have BCBS).

  22. They say that Mirena doesn’t affect breast milk production, but I know I’ve heard it has for some women, but I think they are definitely the minority there. For the majority of women, it won’t. For me, it didn’t. I’ve had it in for about 9 months now and have been very happy with it, breastfeeding my daughter throughout too 🙂

  23. I wanted to get Paragard or Mirena.. but it’s extremely expensive. Sure there’s a payment plan, but still. I never felt good using the pill, so I really wanted to go hormone free. We have decided to use VCFs, which works fine for us (so far…) My insurance doesn’t cover any birth control at all, which is silly, they do pay for a large portion of delivery. Wouldn’t they save money providing birth control?

  24. New_Mommii says:

    I recently had my daughter and I’m a young mother who has alot of weight on my shoulders, me and my husband are not ready for another baby any time soon. So I asked for the implant that last for 3 years, I’ll admit it works great but the doctors office scheduled me the day after my insurancecancelled, who would have thought. So now I’m stuck with the bill.. I should have just gone on the pill… :/

  25. Jessica says:

    I have the meraina and i have no problem breastfeeding.

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