Irish couples are playing Russian roulette with contraception
A surprisingly high percentage of Irish couples are relying on a seriously risky method of contraception.
A joint survey carried out by the Irish Family Planning Association and Durex has revealed some surprising statistics.
The IFPA say the survey was conducted amongst a nationally representative sample of adults, 72 percent of whom were in a committed relationship. Just under half (49 percent) of respondents were between the ages of 35 and 54, with 34 percent aged between 18 and 34.
The newly released findings on contraceptive practices among Irish adults show that 30 percent of Irish couples are relying on the high-risk 'withdrawal method' of contraception, or have done so in the past. This method was found to be lowest in the over 55 age range.
A rather surprising 38 percent of Irish couples report using "no method" of contraception versus the 25 percent of adults in a relationship who report using condoms as their primary contraceptive method.
Reliance on condoms as a barrier to conception was highest amongst the 18 to 34 age category, standing at a rate of 41 percent, and 19 percent of women in a relationship reported taking the oral contraceptive pill.
The research also revealed that 24 percent of all women surveyed had experienced an unintended or crisis pregnancy in the past. Commenting on the findings, Dr Caitriona Henchion, Medical Director of the IFPA, says Irish couples are relying on an unreliable method of contraception:
"If a pregnancy would be a crisis for a woman or couple, then it makes sense to use a contraceptive method they can rely on. But this recent research shows that almost one in ten couples are using an unreliable method - withdrawal - rather than condoms or other reliable methods of contraception.
This is really concerning and shows that there is a need for more education and knowledge so that women are empowered to make the choice of contraceptive that’s best for them."
The IFPA say that an increasing number of women aged over 35 are attending their pregnancy counselling services, but point out that there have never been more contraceptive options available to couples:
"These include hormonal methods, such as the pill, emergency contraception and a range of long acting reversible methods, but also vasectomy, and barrier methods, such as condoms and diaphragms."