Generally T-shaped or frameless, the Cu-IUCD is an effective, long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC). Attached to the myometrium at the fundus, it comes in various frame structures made of copper. The amount of copper in each one varies, which means different models have different levels of effectiveness.

The T- shaped models are made with a surface area of 380 mm2 of copper. These ones are least prone to failure. Older models (deemed less effective) are no longer available.

The efficacy and lifespan of these products are thanks to a small amount of silver that’s added to prevent fragmentation of the copper. Some countries use gold for this instead.

Mode of action

The Cu-IUCD works by setting up a spermicidal cytotoxic inflammatory reaction in the endometrium. High levels of copper concentration in cervical mucus then inhibits sperm motility.

If fertilisation does in fact occur, the copper can also prevent implantation. However, the studies suggesting this applied to older devices with lower copper content, and there is no clear evidence that modern devices allow fertilisation to occur.

The postcoital use of copper devices utilises this post-fertilisation contraceptive effect.

Duration of action

All Cu-IUCDs can be used for a minimum of five years – indeed, some models are licensed for much longer than this. In fact, the TCu380A is effective for up to 12 years of use and licensed for 10 years.The TCu380S (TT 380® Slimline and T-Safe® 380A QuickLoad) is licensed for 10 years of use. If a woman is over 40, a Cu-IUCD can even remain in place and effective right up to menopause.

Boost your contraceptive knowledge with our choice of three excellent courses

If you’re a healthcare professional who regularly gives advice to women about their contraceptive options and gynecological issues, PDUK’s Primary care provider’s guide to contraception and Gynae core skills for first contact practitioners could well be the courses for you.

Devised specifically for nurses, midwives, medical students and other front line health professionals, the one-day Primary care provider’s contraception course takes one day to complete and is worth 8 hours of CPD. Held over Zoom, it’s the ideal chance to develop or refresh your knowledge around modern contraception options. You’ll also discover how to safely apply this knowledge in various clinical settings.

The Gynae core skills for first contact practitioners course is also held over one day and is worth 7 hours of CPD. Again offered via Zoom, it’s aimed primarily at nurses of all disciplines. Highly flexible and interactive, we’ll look at management of and referral decisions for women presenting with a range of gynaecological issues.

Last but certainly not least is our Caring for women around the menopause course. Taking a sensitive look at the challenges women face at this time,this is a handy half-day course providing 4 hours of CPD.It offers a solid foundation in enabling healthcare providers to promote both a healthy menopause and to encourage positive health changes for the future.

All three courses are sure to book up quickly though, so make sure you secure your space today!