Contraception Options

Birth control available at Cornell Health

There are many contraceptive options available from Cornell Health, including condoms (both external/sheath and internal/pouch), diaphragms, IUDs (intrauterine devices), and birth control pills, patches, shots, implants, and rings. Some require a clinician visit for a prescription, and some can be purchased without a prescription at the Cornell Health Pharmacy.

    How to know which option is best for you

    • For a general overview of your options, start by reviewing our Sexual Health Care: STI Overview & Contraceptive Methods brochure. To learn more about individual options, visit the links below. 
    • If you want to discuss your options with a sexual health nurse, you can schedule a free "Contraceptive Options" appointment at Cornell Health (see Appointments below). 

    Available without a prescription

    These options are available for sale at the Cornell Health Pharmacy, and do not require a prescription.

    Other safer sex supplies available at our pharmacy include spermicide and personal lubricant.

    Available with a prescription

    If you know which kind of prescription contraception you want, schedule an appointment with a medical clinician (see Appointments below). 

    Birth control pills

    See also: What to do if you missed your birth control pill.

    IUD (intrauterine device) options

    Other contraception options

    Non-hormonal options 

    Non-hormonal methods protect against pregnancy without influencing natural hormones. These options may be appropriate for those who experience undesired side effects from hormonal options, or who want a secondary method to back up their hormonal contraception. 

    Emergency contraception (EC)

    Emergency contraception (EC) is birth control used after unprotected sex (or after contraception failure during sex) to help prevent pregnancy. EC stops a pregnancy before it happens, either by temporarily stopping ovulation (the release of an egg that can be fertilized by sperm), or by changing the environment of the uterus or cervix so that sperm and egg do not meet. (EC is different from abortion pills, which end a pregnancy that has already begun.)

    EC must be taken within 3-5 days of unprotected sex to be effective – but the sooner EC is taken, the better it works to prevent pregnancy.


    Free "Contraceptive Options" appointments are for students who want to speak with a sexual health nurse to learn more about their options and help decide which birth control method is right for them. Appointments are open to students of any sex or gender; couples are welcome.

    Clinician appointments are for students who require a prescription and/or a medical or sexual health evaluation or exam. These appointments have a $10 charge.

    To schedule an appointment, log in to myCornellHealth using your CU NetID and password, or call us during business hours at 607-255-5155.