March 2015

Women's awareness of, interest in, and experiences with long-acting reversible and permanent contraception

Burns B, Grindlay K, Dennis A. Women's awareness of, interest in, and experiences with long-acting reversible and permanent contraception. Women's Health Issues. 2015 May-Jun;25(3):224-31

Background: Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) and sterilization are popular contraceptive methods. However, they have been associated with safety concerns and coercive practices. We aimed to understand women's opinions and experiences related to these methods, including whether the methods' fraught histories influence use or interest.

Methods: Between May and July 2013, we conducted an online survey with a convenience sample of 520 women aged 14 to 45. We used quota sampling to ensure women of color were at least 60% of our sample. Descriptive statistics, χ2 tests, and multivariable logistic regression were used to estimate participants' awareness of, interest in, and experiences with LARCs and sterilization.

Findings: Overall, 30% of women reported current LARC use and 67% interest in future LARC use. Four percent reported sterilization use and 48%interest in future sterilization. In multivariate analyses, current LARC use was lower among Asian women versus White women (odds ratio [OR], 0.24), and interest in future use was higher among women aged 14 to 24 versus 35 to 45 (OR, 5.49). Interest in sterilization was higher among women aged 14 to 24 and 25 to 34 versus 35 to 45 (ORs, 3.29-3.66) and women with disabilities (OR, 1.64), and lower among Black compared with White women (OR, 0.41). Method misperceptions were evident, and concerns about contraceptive coercion were reported.

Conclusions: Concerns about contraceptive coercion were not predominant reasons for noninterest in LARCs and sterilization, but were reported by some participants. Lower sterilization interest among Black women and higher sterilization interest among women with disabilities warrant further research. Efforts to address misperceptions about LARCs and sterilization, including their safety and efficacy, are needed.