Last year, 7,500 girls in Costa Rica received a contraceptive implant. This first part of the project was offered to girls age 20 or under at risk of pregnancy. It is a subdermal implantation of 4 cm by 2 mm that releases estrogen.
The method was given to adolescents in post-partum or postabortion hospitalization. Patients could also apply at health centers. 30-35% of young women who had a birth get pregnant again before a year has past.
The device will be available in cantons of the Central Valley in the coming months. The pilot program was initiated only in Brunca, Huetar caribe, central Pacific, Huetar norte and Chorotega regions. It will become available country wide.
The method is well accepted and has already caused a 6% reduction in pregnancies in women ages 15 to 20. The number of pregnancies for those under 15 fell from 300 to 258 from 2017 to 2018. This is important because adolescent mothers have four times greater risk of maternal death than adults. Additionally, their children are at increased risk of neonatal mortality.