There are many methods of contraception available to women and men. It’s important to choose contraception that fits your situation and lifestyle. This section tells you about different types of contraceptive choices for men and women. Some are long acting. It also tells you about emergency contraception.

It’s always a good idea to discuss your contraceptive choices with your doctor, as you may need to experiment to find what works best for you.

Remember too that using ‘dual protection’ (condoms with another method of contraception) will help you to have safer sex. Plan ahead and carry contraception with you as the most common reason why people do not use contraception is because they had sex when they weren’t planning to or when they were unprepared.

Condoms offer the best protection from both an unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Access to contraception for young people under the age of sexual consent.

When a young person is sexually active and there is risk of pregnancy, it is important that they are supported to use contraception to protect against an unplanned pregnancy.

Most young people in Ireland are 17 years or older before they become sexually active.

However, regardless of age, it is important that young people that are sexually active and who are at risk of becoming pregnant, are encouraged to talk to their doctors about contraception.

Doctors will know that the legal age for sexual consent in Ireland is 17 and they will know how best to support a young person who approaches them about contraception, depending on the individual circumstances of that young person.

If a doctor is asked to provide contraception to a person less than 16 years the doctor will encourage the young person to discuss the treatment with their parents. If a young person can’t discuss their need for contraception with a parent or legal guardian then this should be explained to the doctor.

If the young person does not want to involve a parent/guardian the doctor will consider the young person’s maturity and understanding. As advised by the National Consent Policy, the doctor can provide the prescription if it is in the best interest of the young person.

If a person is under the age of 17 years the doctor might ask some questions to ensure there is no concern of abuse as per the Children’s First Guidelines. However, if the GP becomes aware that a person under 15 years of age is sexual active, a mandatory report to Túsla is required.

There is no legal minimum age for the sale or purchase of condoms.

At any age, it is important for young people to have trustworthy sources of information and trustworthy adults with whom they can talk through their relationship and sexual health issues.

More information on the age of sexual consent can be found here:

Contraception resources


Download the plain English contraception guide  here

Download this guide in the following languages: