Britney Spears IUD: What is the coil and why did Britney mention it in court?

IUDs, also known as the coil, are being widely discussed after Britney Spears voiced in court yesterday that her dad’s conservatorship over her has meant she has been unable have children with partner Sam Asghari.

Britney Spears IUD: the singer brought up the coil in her conservatorship court appearance on Wednesday. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP File)
Britney Spears IUD: the singer brought up the coil in her conservatorship court appearance on Wednesday. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP File)

Speaking in Los Angeles Superior Court via video link yesterday (June 23), Spears told the judge that one aspect of her conservatorship which was particularly difficult was her inability to make her own reproductive health decisions.

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Britney Spears conservatorship: What is conservatorship? Why is she appearing in...

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Alex McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, America’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider, tweeted in support of the pop star on behalf of the non-profit organisation today (June 24).

“We stand in solidarity with Britney and all women who face reproductive coercion,” she said on Twitter.

"Your reproductive health is your own — and no one should make decisions about it for you. #FreeBritney”

The star’s discussion of her IUD comes just days after BBC journalist Naga Munchetty described her pain and trauma in having her own IUD fitted.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live, Ms Munchetty said the experience was “one of the most traumatic physical experiences” of her life – with many on social media sharing their own similarly painful experiences of having the intrauterine device fitted and/or removed.

Despite assertions from experts that having it fitted should not hurt, many have reported fainting from the severity of the pain and argued that their lived experiences are still too often ignored, dismissed or underestimated by health officials.

What is an IUD?

An IUD (intrauterine device) is a small, T shaped copper and plastic device which is inserted through the cervix and into the womb in a very similar way to cervical screenings.

After being fitted correctly, it immediately prevents the possibility of pregnancy – with a 99% rate of effectiveness.

The presence of copper released into womb means that sperm are less likely to be able to fertilise an egg as the cervical mucus is altered.

This also ensures that any potentially fertilised eggs will struggle to implant themselves in the womb.

As a longer-lasting form of contraception the coil usually works for anywhere between five and ten years, but its longevity can vary depending on the type inserted.

Why did Britney mention the IUD in court?

As part of the star’s attempts to lift the 13-year-old conservatorship held by her father, Jamie Spears, Britney keenly impressed upon the court that she felt it to be “abusive”, as well as “embarrassing and humiliating” for her.

Spears’ remarks surrounding her own IUD and desire to have more children have shone a light on the nature of the arrangement and how it has impacted upon her health and wellbeing since first approved by the court in 2008.

Speaking in Los Angeles Superior Court via video link yesterday (June 23), Spears said: “I was told right now in the conservatorship, I’m not able to get married or have a baby.

"I have an IUD inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant.

"I wanted to take the IUD out so I could start trying to have another baby.

“But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have any more children.”

To find out more about the coil, visit https://www.sexualhealthscotland.co.uk/contraception/iud-the-coil or the NHS website here.

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