Contraception - Medical Negligence Compensation Claim Solicitors


Solicitors medical negligence claims involving an allegation of 'wrongful birth' can arise from a negligent failure of contraception. In these wrongful birth claims, the patients solicitor sues the medical practitioner who failed to prevent the clients conception and subsequent pregnancy.

The cost of bringing up an unplanned child can be very substantial and where pregnancy occurs due to medical negligence our solicitors can help you to obtain compensation for past loss that you have suffered and anticipated future loss. A medical negligence solicitor will take a detailed statement after consideration of your clinical records and will obtain medical opinions from experienced clinicians in order to establish negligence. We operate the no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement.


In order to prevent pregnancy, a biological or physical barrier needs to be used as an intervention. There are several options available; some are temporary and others are semi-permanent and permanent. Some methods are reliable and those that are not are usually only practiced due to restricted economic circumstances or reasons of religion or belief. All contraception comes with some kind of associated risk.


Contraception is the prevention of conception or impregnation. Birth control is the concept of limiting the size of families by measures designed to prevent conception. There are many methods of contraception and all have the same goal - to prevent pregnancy.


A woman who is considering having a sexual relationship should seriously address the fundamental question of whether pregnancy is desired at this stage of the relationship or her life before engaging in sexual activity. If the answer is no, then one of the following forms of contraception is required (listed from the least to the most reliable):

  • The Withdrawal Method.
  • The Rhythm Method or periodic abstinence.
  • Mechanical devices - the diaphragm and condom.
  • Spermicides - renders sperm immobile and they die.
  • Barrier contraceptives - Intrauterine devices (IUDs) which prevent implantation.
  • Oral hormonal method commonly known as 'The Pill', which contains oestrogen and progestogen. The pill is also available as a 'mini-pill', which contains only progestogen.
  • Implants and injectables - hormonal prevention methods that last for several months.
  • Hormone patches - these also work in the same way as The Pill.
  • Female sterilisation - creating a permanent blockage of the fallopian tubes.

Failure to Prevent Pregnancy

The most obvious and common reason that results in unwanted pregnancy is the non-use of any form of contraception, but failure to prevent pregnancy depends on the type used:

  • The 'Withdrawal method' is the very least reliable form of contraception as conception can occur at any time during ovulation.
  • The "rhythm method," is considered unlikely to prevent pregnancy unless there is careful monitoring and full co-operation by both parties.
  • The diaphragm and/or condom fail when they are not correctly put in place or, in the case of a condom, ruptures.
  • Intrauterine devices have a good success rate, but fail if not placed correctly or if they fall out of place over time.
  • Oral contraceptive pills must be taken at the same time each day. This is particularly important with the mini-pill because, if it is not taken within 4 hours of the usual time, its protective properties are lost. In this case, there is a high chance of ovulation and conception may occur after intercourse.
  • Failure of the patches is due to neglecting to renew them. The same applies to injections and implants. It is easy to forget to maintain these methods because of the length of time they are effective.
  • Female sterilisation can occasionally fail, especially if the method used was potentially reversible - for example, the use of Filshie clips, or silicone rubber bands.

Thrombosis Due to Oral Contraception

There is evidence to suggest there is an increased risk of thrombosis (blood coagulation) when taking oral contraception. With this risk comes the threat of suffering a stroke and/or a myocardial infarction (heart attack). No form of hormonal contraception is recommended for women with a predisposition or family history of clot formation or heart attacks.

Side Effects of Injectable Hormone Contraceptives

There are many reasons why women should consider alternative forms of pregnancy intervention to injectable hormonal contraception:

  • All hormonal contraceptives can cause unexpected extended periods of infertility.
  • One major side effect is that the first pregnancy after ceasing hormonal contraception is often spontaneously aborted. This tendency increases after 4 or more years of use before birth of the first child.
  • Research shows that, if hormonal contraception is started before the age of 18, there is an increased risk of breast cancers in women aged between 45 and 65.
  • Hormonal contraceptives have been found to increase the risk of cervical cancer when taken consistently for longer than five consecutive years.
  • Apart from cardiovascular problems, including stroke and heart attack, other serious risks of prolonged use of hormonal contraception are thrombophlebitis (thrombosis that occurs in different areas) and thromboembolism (a blood clot obstruction).
  • Hormonal contraception has been associated with lessening of bone density.
  • An increase in cholesterol while using this method is a known side effect.
  • There is a possible increased of risk of liver cancer.
  • Among the risks that women who use hormonal contraception face, is higher exposure to AIDS and other STDs because of the tendency to forego the use of condoms.
  • Minor, but inconvenient, side effects include: bleeding between expected menstrual dates, slight nausea and tenderness of the breasts.

Most of these complications are very rare among women under age 35 who are non-smokers, but the more serious of the health risks increase for women using hormonal contraception who:

  • Are severely obese
  • Have uncontrolled high cholesterol levels
  • Have uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Are smokers over the age of 35

Infection and Perforation of the Uterus Following the Introduction of IUD, Including the Coil

The placing and removing of an IUD is the most likely time for problems to occur, including:

    Infection: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can be introduced at the time of insertion or removal of an IUD and will become evident between 3 weeks and 3 months. If PID is not remedied immediately, it can lead to infertility, peritonitis (a potentially fatal infection of the abdomen) and liver damage. In order to prevent the possibility of infection, an IUD should be left in place for as long as it is still viable.

    Perforation of the uterus: This condition does not happen very often, but, when it does, it is usually due to inexperience and may require surgical intervention to repair the situation. The IUD may become embedded in the wall of the uterus and possible sterility may become a factor.


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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here