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Baby in photo wasn’t born holding IUD

September 13, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Photo shows a baby who was born clutching an IUD from his mother’s womb.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This photo was set up after the baby was born, his mother confirmed to The Associated Press. Even in the very rare case of a pregnancy occurring with this contraceptive device still in the uterus, it’s not possible for a child to be born holding an IUD, an expert told the AP.

THE FACTS: Social media users this month have resurrected a years-old false claim that a photo shows a crying newborn who was grasping an IUD in his hand as he left the womb.

“Lmaooo the baby came out holding the damn birth control,” read a popular Instagram post with the image, which mimicked false posts that made the rounds online in 2017.

The image does show an infant born despite his mother’s use of an IUD for birth control — an exceptionally rare occurrence — but he wasn’t born with the IUD in his hand, as posts claimed.

The child’s mother, Lucy Tyler, told the AP in an Instagram message that a nurse placed the IUD in her son’s hand after he was born and her husband took the picture.

She posted the photo on her account at the time using the hashtag #mirenafail, referring to the brand name of the IUD she had used. “Mirena found behind my placenta,” she wrote.

The false claims initially spread just after the child was born, in 2017, and he is now 5 years old, Tyler said.

Obstetricians say IUDs are one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control available. While it’s possible to get pregnant while using an IUD, it’s extremely rare — in the first year of use, fewer than 1% of women using an IUD will get pregnant, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The Mirena IUD, which Tyler used, is more effective than many other forms of birth control including tubal ligation, birth control pills, patches and rings, according to Dr. Sophia Yen, a Stanford clinical associate professor and founder of a birth control delivery company. It has a failure rate of 1 in 1,000, Yen said.

In the unusual case that a baby is born with the IUD still in the uterus, the infant could not be born holding the device, Yen said.

“It would be impossible for the baby to be born holding the IUD because the fetus grows within an amniotic sac and the IUD can’t get in that,” she told the AP in an email.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.