Yes, abstinence is free.
But basically every other form of birth control and safer sex product costs money.
Being an aspiring personal finance blogger and sexual health worker this is my own slice of knowledge: saving money on birth control. So if you are in a relationship or having vaginal sex with someone with a penis on the regular- read on!
This is a typical run-down of non-permanent birth control options and their cost in Canada, without insurance.
Male/external condoms: often free at health centres, post-secondary campuses, but can be anywhere from $10-30 for a pack of 12
Female/internal condoms: often free at health centres and HIV/AIDS organizations, but more difficult to find. Can be $2-5 each
Dental dams: as above, usually free at health centres but difficult to find; between $2-5 each. *Full disclosure I’ve actually never seen dental dams in a consumer setting, only free at the various health centres I’ve worked at
Oral birth control pills: needs a prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner, between $20-45 for a month
Vaginal ring: needs a Rx again; approximately $30 for a month
Injection hormonal birth control: needs an Rx and a doctor to administer it, between $30-60 per injection every three months.
Copper Intrauterine device (IUD) : needs an Rx and a doctor to insert it, can be between $90-200, but lasts up to 5-10 years
Hormonal IUD: needs an Rx and a doctor to insert it, between $250-400; lasts up to 5 years
Obligatory sexual health public service announcement: birth control and safer sex is a personal choice that should be researched, discussed with your partner and your health care professional. Not every method will work great for everyone, but everyone can find a method that fits their lifestyle; how much they have sex; their health concerns and financial concerns the best. Please talk to your local sexual health centre for more in-depth information about the birth control methods listed above. Also know that only condoms protect against pregnancy, STIs and HIV, so consider getting regularly tested if you are using a birth control method that does not offer STI protection. Yes even if you are in a monogamous relationship. Yes, I mean you.
That quote is what I would say to you if you called my health centre!
But back to the numbers! All other factors aside, let’s crunch the numbers of the bottom 5 birth control methods I mentioned.
Oral birth control pills: $20-45/month; $240-540/ year.
Ring: $30/month; $360/year
Injection: $30/ every 3 months; $120/year
Copper IUD: $90-200 lasts 5-10 years; $9-40/year
Hormonal IUD: $250-400 lasts 5 years; $50-80/year
Aside from the safer sex products that you could probably find for free; IUDs are the most-cost effective over time than any other birth control. This is especially important considering many people start birth control in their early teens and may continue to use a method for 5-25 years!
In a couple of weeks I’m going to get a hormonal IUD inserted, and I’ve chosen this not only for the financial considerations but it certainly helped me make up my mind.
Safer sex and birth control can be sexy and cost-effective!