The Relationship Between Contraceptive Features Preferred by Young Women and Interest in IUDs: An Exploratory Analysis

Anu Manchikanti Gómez, University of California, Berkeley Jennifer B. Clark

First published online:

| DOI: https://doi.org/10.1363/46e2014
Abstract / Summary

Little research has examined the relationship between women’s preferences of contraceptive features and their interest in IUD use. Given high levels of contraceptive discontinuation and dissatisfaction, a better understanding of contraceptive preferences may support women in finding their optimal method and meeting their family planning goals.


Data from 382 heterosexual women aged 18–29 were collected via a 2012 Internet survey. Chi-square tests and multivariate, multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine relationships between contracep- tive features preferred by women and their interest in IUD use.


Forty-eight percent of women reported being unsure whether they would ever use an IUD; 20% were inter- ested in using one, and 32% were not. In multivariate analyses, characteristics of a contraceptive method found posi- tively associated with IUD interest were the method’s not interfering with sexual pleasure (relative risk ratio, 3.4), being 99% effective without user action (2.5) and being effective for up to five years without any user action (3.8). Women who preferred a method that they could see or that would allow them to resume fertility immediately after discontinu- ation were less likely than those who did not to be interested in using rather than not using an IUD (0.4–0.5).


The findings of this exploratory analysis indicate that women value a multitude of contraceptive features, which may have implications for their interest in using an IUD. Future research should consider the ways that women’s contraceptive preferences can be incorporated into contraceptive counseling.

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2014, 46(3):XX–XX, doi: 10.1363/46e2014

Author's Affiliations

Anu Manchikanti Gomez is assistant professor at the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. Jennifer B. Clark is project coordinator at Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, CA.


This work was supported with pilot funding from the Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality at San Francisco State University. Special thanks go to E. Cameron Hartofelis and Sara Finlayson for their work in developing and implementing the survey.


The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Guttmacher Institute.