Conception & Contraception


Those wishing to have a child and who want to prepare for pregnancy can contact the Gynaecology service for information and support with conception.

If you are experiencing fertility problems, care is best provided by BrusselsIVF.


There are various methods of preventing pregnancy. Whichever method you use, when you stop you can in principle get pregnant immediately. Some methods are far more reliable than others, but pregnancy can occur with all methods.

Contraception: how does it work?

Contraception literally means against conception or against fertilisation. It is a means of preventing fertilisation and/or the implantation of a fertilised ovum and therefore reducing the chance of pregnancy to a minimum.

There are various ways of doing this:

  • By administering substances that prevent the ova from maturing in the woman and ovulation occurring (e.g., the pill, a hormone shot or injection, a ring in the vagina, a hormone patch, a hormone rod in the upper arm)
  • By ensuring that the sperm cells cannot reach the ovum by creating a barrier (e.g., male and female condom, sterilisation)
  • By preventing a fertilised ovum from becoming implanted in the uterus (e.g., the hormone coil, minipill)
  • By not having intercourse during the fertile period (timing ovulation) or by not ejaculating into the vagina. Please note: this form of contraception is not very reliable.
  • By avoiding the fertile period by recording temperature or using urine tests. Please note: this form of contraception is not very reliable.

Forms of contraception

Not all methods are suitable for everyone. When you choose a method of contraception, it is difficult to predict whether this method is the best one for you. In around 10% of cases, the chosen method is ultimately not the most suitable and can be adapted in consultation with the doctor.

Contraceptive methods are classified on the basis of the way in which fertilisation is prevented:

  • Hormonal methods to suppress ovulation, because without ovulation fertilisation cannot take place
  • Intrauterine methods with a coil to prevent the ovum becoming implanted, because this means that no offspring can grow. In addition, some coils make it impossible for the sperm cell to penetrate the ovum
  • Permanent methods involving male sterilisation by tying up the spermatic cords or female sterilisation by blocking the fallopian tubes

Forgetting or improperly using contraception

If the contraception is forgotten or not properly used, it is possible to reduce the chance of a possible pregnancy with the morning-after pill. This pill has to be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sexual contact, but can still be effective up to a maximum of three days after intercourse. You can buy this from the pharmacist without a prescription.

You can also have a coil (usually containing copper) fitted by a doctor up to five days after the unprotected intercourse.