Emergency contraception: How you can get the morning-after pill in advance

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Emergency contraception is the last resort and should only be used if you have had unprotected sex or if the contraception you’ve used has failed. Previously, you would have to go to the pharmacy, contraception clinic, sexual health clinic or your GP surgery to get emergency contraception, but now it is available online. Online sales of emergency contraception (EC) have soared during the pandemic, with sales of one type of emergency contraceptive pill on Dr Fox Online Pharmacy increasing by 197 percent between April 2020 and January 2021 compared with the previous 10 months. Here’s how you can get the morning-after pill in advance, according to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.

Many women think of emergency contraception as a pill you take when your regular contraception method hasn’t worked or gone to plan.

But did you know that there are actually three choices of emergency contraception?

Dr Lee has explained the pros and cons of each one.

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The insertion of a copper intrauterine device (IUD) is 99 percent effective in preventing an unplanned pregnancy and counts as a form of emergency contraception.

Dr Lee said: “This is an excellent option, which can even be used in women who have never been pregnant, and in young people.”

Inserting an IUD, also known as a coil, means you are protected for between five to 10 years and prevents this sort of event from happening again.


The ellaOne pill, sold at Dr Fox and available in most pharmacies and clinics in the UK, is an emergency contraceptive pill.

The ellaOne needs to be taken within five days of unprotected sex for it to be effective.

The sooner you take it, the more effective it will be.

The two percent failure rate of ellaOne is lower than the failure rate of Levonelle – between 0.6 – 3.1 percent.

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Levonelle is another emergency contraceptive pill, but this one needs to be taken within three days of unprotected sex.

EllaOne is usually the preferred option, but not all women are medically suitable to take it.

Dr Lee said: “With Levonelle, efficacy tails off over these five days, meaning it must be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex.”

How you can get the morning-after pill in advance

You can get the morning-after pill in advance on prescription in a few circumstances.

According to the NHS website, you can get the emergency contraceptive pill in advance of having unprotected sex if:

  1. you’re worried about your contraceptive method failing
  2. you’re going on holiday
  3. you can’t get hold of emergency contraception easily

You can also get the morning after pill in advance without visiting your GP in person.

Dr Fox is a fully regulated online pharmacy run by NHS GPs, and you can purchase the morning-after pill on the website.

Dr Lee, who works for Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, said: “Dr Fox only supplies EC to women who wish to keep the preparation at home as an advance supply.

“This is because when a woman needs emergency contraception, Levonelle, works best the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex.

“It, therefore, makes no sense to order it today and wait for it to arrive in the post.

“However, it does make sense, to keep some in the bathroom cabinet, so there is a supply on hand to take as soon as possible if needed.”

Buying your emergency contraception online in advance is probably the easiest way to do it during a pandemic, with online sales of emergency contraception have risen by nearly 200 percent in the last year.

All you need to do is complete an online questionnaire which will be reviewed by a qualified doctor.

The doctor will do all the necessary checks, and will only sell emergency contraception in advance and never to anyone under 16 years old.

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