Consumer Health Info

Finding Birth Control Online: An NWHN Guide

Publication Date: May 22, 2022

By: Dr. Julie Thai, MD

The National Women’s Health Network and Finding Birth Control Online

The NWHN believes that every person deserves the right to manage their sexuality on their own terms, especially when it comes to birth control. Websites now make online access to birth control a convenient and easy way to get your preferred method of contraception. However, online shopping for anything can be confusing, and finding birth control online is no different.

The NWHN cares deeply about health care quality, medication safety, and the right of all people to have accurate information to make informed decisions about their health care. We have an extensive history of advocating for family planning providers to incorporate these values and offer client-centered reproductive health care. Therefore, we welcome new health innovations, such as online access to birth control, that make it more convenient and affordable for people to get the care and services they need. With the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s more important than ever to ensure that all Americans have access to accurate, up-to-date birth control information and resources so they can control their reproductive futures.

We designed this guide to help you navigate finding birth control online, so you’ll feel empowered to make the best health care decisions for your body. We researched a handful of websites offering a variety of birth control options-Alpha Medical, Lemonaid Health, Nurx, Pandia Health, Favor (formerly The Pill Club), and Simple Health-and examined how well they meet The Network’s values. Below, we outline how these sites compare and offer some suggestions that may help you decide what birth control is best for you and which website to use.

One note: Lemonaid is the only site clearly advertising its ability to serve patients in all 50 states in the U.S. We found that other sites frequently update the states they’re able to serve when it comes to finding birth control online. It’s worth trying again if you like a site that can’t serve you the first time you contact it.


Options Available When Finding Birth Control Online

A Note on the Range AvailableEach of the websites we visited offers hormonal contraception, but not all offer the full range of options. Ideally, we would like to see a list of all methods offered, including oral contraceptives (OCs, or “the Pill”), the shot, the two contraceptive patches, the monthly contraceptive ring (NuvaRing), and the year-long ring (Annovera).

One site, Pandia, came close to our ideal, offering prescriptions for all available brands. Other websites provided complete lists of the types of OCs offered but either only offered one type of patch or ring or didn’t offer either of the contraceptive patches. But, if you know exactly which type of contraceptive you want to use, a site with limited options might be suitable for you.

Emergency ContraceptionSimple Health, Alpha Health, Nurx, and Favor all currently offer emergency contraception (also known as the Morning After Pill).

Oral Contraceptives

  • If you know you want to use oral contraceptives (OC), Simple Health can provide more than 100 brands. Lemonaid, Alpha, and Favor also list the brands of OC they carry. Pandia lists the most popular brands on its site. On the other hand, Nurx doesn’t provide any information about OCs until after a customer creates an account on the website, which is a barrier for shoppers still in the early information-gathering phase. Having many OC options to choose from is important because, while all versions of the pill are equally effective, some people respond better to one version or another. Further, pills containing drospirenone (Yaz, Yazmin, Beyaz, Nikki, Loryna) and desogestrel (Apri, Isibloom, Juleber, Velivet) put users at slightly higher risk of developing blood clots, a very rare but serious complication of using hormonal contraceptives.

Contraceptive RingIf you know you want to use a contraceptive ring, Pandia, Simple Health, Nurx, and Alpha all carry the monthly ring (NuvaRing). Favor, Alpha Simple Health, and Pandia also carry the year-long ring (Annovera). The NWHN advises trying the monthly version first if you’ve never used a contraceptive ring before.

Contraceptive PatchThe new low-dose contraceptive patch (Twirla) became available shortly after we explored the sites. It’s not included in the chart below, but online sites will likely start carrying it soon. If you’re a satisfied user of the original contraceptive patch (Xulane), which contains a higher dose of hormones than Twirla, you can obtain Xulane on Alpha, Pandia, Simple Health, and Nurx. If you’re interested in trying the contraceptive patch for the first time, we recommend starting with Twirla, as its lower dose of hormones reduces the (rare) risk of blood clots.

Contraceptive GelThe new contraceptive gel (Phexxi) was also not mentioned by any of the sites we visited. It’s a good option for people who want to use a non-hormonal method, but unlike other contraceptive gels, it requires a prescription.  We hope to see it available online soon.

Contraceptive ShotNurx and Alpha also offer the contraceptive shot (Depo Provera). Not everyone is comfortable giving themselves an injection, but for those experienced users who are okay with it, ordering online can be a good option.

Necessary Interactions With a Health Care Provider When Finding Birth Control Online

  • An online prescription for birth control must be approved by a nurse practitioner, a physician, or another clinician who has the authority to write prescriptions. Who you interact with and how much you interact with the clinician who approves your prescription depends on where you live. All the sites we visited provide care via privacy-protected online interactions, which means you answer some questions via the website, and a clinician reviews your information later. However, some states require prescribers to have a phone call or video chat with a consumer before issuing a prescription. Regardless of how your interaction happens, you should always be given the full name of the clinician who approved your prescription.
  • If you want to interact personally with a provider via video, regardless of where you live, try Lemonaid. Each video consultation with a clinician costs $75.
  • Simple Health and Pandia Health have a chat function on their websites for 24/7 access.

Price Breakdown Across Websites for Finding Birth Control Online

AlphaRequires a $10 fee to get started and begin receiving your birth control prescription. Birth control is free for those with insurance and starts at $15 a month for those without insurance. Without insurance, costs are approximately:

  • The Pill: $25 a pack (one month)
  • The patch: $175 a month
  • The ring: $170 a month

Alpha’s website outlines individual costs according to each brand and birth control option, which is a helpful resource.

LemonaidRequires a $25 consultation fee to get started, which repeats each year you continue to order your birth control from the company. Birth control pills are $15 a pack and delivered in a three-month supply. To see prices on other forms of birth control, you must create an account on their website. Lemonaid requires you to measure your blood pressure and submit the result through your account for each birth control prescription.

NurxRequires a $15 initial payment to get started. If you have insurance, birth control is free. If you do not have insurance, birth control costs $15 a pack. Nurx sends birth control pills in a three-month supply.

The Pill Club (AKA Favor)Requires an annual payment of $15 for a yearly review of your medical history and prescription membership. If you have insurance coverage, your birth control is free. If you do not have insurance, birth control costs $9 a pack for a one-year supply or $10.66 a pack for a three-month supply. Unlike the other websites, The Pill Club does not offer the option to purchase only one month of birth control at a time. In every delivery, you get a “sample self-care product,” birth control, a “sweet treat” (like chocolate), a sticker, a discreet envelope for returns, and the option to add generic Emergency Contraception and female condoms (which are free with insurance coverage).

Simple HealthRequires a $20 one-time consultation fee for a clinician to review your health history and prescribe birth control. Simple Health accepts most insurance plans. If you do not have insurance or Simple Health doesn’t accept your specific insurance, a pack of generic birth control pills starts at $15 per month.

PandiaRequires a $20 fee to get started, and that pays a clinician to review your health history and write your prescription. If you have insurance coverage, your birth control is free. If you do not have insurance coverage, your birth control starts at $15 per pack of generic pills.

Further Resources

  • If you would like to add a form of Emergency Contraception to your monthly birth control order, head over to Alpha, Nurx, and Favor (formerly The Pill Club).
  • Along with birth control services, Simple Health, Alpha, Lemonaid, and Nurx offer additional sexual health treatments and medications. Alpha, Lemonaid, and Nurx offer at-home testing kits for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and prescriptions to treat several STIs, including genital herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
  • Lemonaid and Alpha also offer treatment for erectile dysfunction, endometriosis, migraine, acid reflux, hypothyroidism, hair loss, skin infections, and acne, among a variety of common medical conditions. They also offer mental health treatment, but The Network recommends seeing an experienced mental health professional first to decide what is the best course of action for your specific needs.
  • If you’re not sure which method is suitable for you, check out these NWHN-trusted sites and articles:

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