Women and people with a uterus aged 17 to 26 can get contraception for free.
What costs are covered
The costs covered include:
- GP or doctor’s appointments - to talk about contraception options and for repeat prescriptions when needed
- prescriptions given by your doctor - approved products will be given free of charge at participating pharmacies
- your choice of contraception - from the types covered below
- fittings and removals of implants and IUDs or IUSs (coils)
- any check-ups or other follow up care needed, relating to your implant or coil
- emergency contraception (morning after pill)
Types of contraception covered
There are many types of contraception covered by this service. You may need to experiment to find what works best for you. Emergency contraception (morning after pill) is also covered.
You can choose from a range of contraceptives listed below.
These include short-acting contraceptives and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).
Short-acting contraceptives are types of contraception that depend on you remembering to take or use them regularly or each time you have sex.
These include the:
Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) are types of contraception that you do not have to remember to take every day.
These include the:
- intrauterine device or IUD and intrauterine system or IUS (these are also known as coils)
Currently, the 'IUB Ballerine' is the only type of copper coil available free of charge under this scheme.
How to get free contraception
To access free contraception, you need to:
- be a woman or person with a uterus
- be age 17 to 26
- live in Ireland
- have a PPS number
You do not need a medical card to access this service.
Make an appointment with your GP or doctor to discuss your options for contraception.
You do not have to pay for the visit or the prescriptions you get for approved products. Talk to your GP or doctor about the prescriptions that are included in this service.
Talking to your GP about contraception
You will need to give your PPS number, name, date of birth and address at your appointment and the pharmacy. We need this to make sure that you are in the 17 to 26 age group covered by the free contraception service.
If you do not have a GP or do not want to go to a GP
You can also get free contraception from some family planning clinics, women’s health clinics, student health clinics or health centres.
Freephone HSELive on 1800 700 700 or send us a direct message on Twitter (@HSELive) to find a GP or clinic offering free contraception.
Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if your contraception fails. For example, a condom slipped or you missed a pill.
If you need the emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill), this can be given over-the-counter at participating pharmacies for free.
You will need to give your PPS number, name and address at the pharmacy. We need this information to make sure that you are in the 17 to 26 age group covered by the free contraception service.
The copper coil is not free as emergency contraception under this scheme. If you want to use a copper coil as emergency contraception, you will need to pay for the device. The cost of the GP appointment and insertion is covered.
More information on emergency contraception
Where to get condoms
Condoms are not included in this scheme but using condoms correctly and every time you have sex will reduce your risk of getting an STI.
The HSE provides condoms to a range of services for free distribution.
These include many:
You can also buy condoms from shops and pharmacies. Always use condoms that carry the European CE mark or Kite mark on the packet. This means they've been tested to the required safety standards.
Download the 'how to put on a condom' leaflet
How to prevent STIs
Download a contraception guide in plain English (PDF, 474 KB, 34 pages)
Download translated contraception guides