Going to the Gynaecologist
From What Age are You Allowed/Able to See a Gynaecologist?
Obviously, you can go to see the gynaecologist anytime you need to ask questions about your body, sexuality, birth control methods and much more. You can go alone or take a friend, your mother, father or another companion with you. Under § 203 StGB the gynaecologist also has to treat minors confidentially. However, depending on age this decision lies with the doctor and depends on the minor’s cognitive capacity. With minors under 14 years of age the doctor can inform the parents fully about the visit to the doctor.
With 14 and 15-year-olds the doctor weighs up whether the parents should be informed.
From the age of 16 the doctor must observe confidentiality. However, the circumstances in each individual case are always key here.
When are Girls Recommended to Visit the Gynaecologist?
First visits to the gynaecologist can be filled with fear or even shame, especially for young girls*. Statistically, the first visit to the gynaecologist occurs between the ages of 13 and 15. However, you need not be scared; the doctor will take time for you and your questions.
You should go to a gynaecologist:
If you have questions about your body
If you need a general consultation (also without an examination)
If you want information on birth control
If you want to be prescribed the pill (or other hormonal form of contraception). (To be prescribed contraceptives you do not need to be examined in the gynaecologist’s chair.)
If you suspect you are pregnant
If you have not had a period by the age of 16
If you suffer from bad period pains, bleeding between periods, pains in the lower abdomen
If you have an unusual excretion (unusual smell or colour)
If you are unsure about sexual practices.
Covering the Costs of Contraceptives
As every girl*woman lives in different circumstances, choosing the right and safe method of contraception should be discussed together with their doctor or an advisor at a counselling centre. Because not every method of contraception is suited to every girl*woman.
If you are under 22 years of age and have statutory health insurance the costs of prescription contraceptives are covered by your sickness fund. The costs of non-prescription emergency contraceptives, i.e. the morning-after pill, are also covered if you have obtained a prescription from a doctor in advance. The law aims to give more support to young women* who may not be able to afford the cost of contraceptives. The provision is intended to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and enable women to use contraceptives in a self-determined way.
In practice, however, this new provision is reaching its limits. Unfortunately, the following applies to the covering of costs up to the age of 22: principle of economic efficiency + medical relevance in individual cases + health insurance. This means doctors usually opt for the most economical contraceptive method and prescribe the pill. The pill is not the only contraceptive available on prescription and is not always the cheapest. You should get good advice from your gynaecologist about which method suits you and your lifestyle the best.
Not all sickness funds cover the costs of any prescription contraceptive method. To find out whether the costs are covered, call your sickness fund. It costs nothing to ask.
From the age of 18 you have to pay a prescription fee of € 5 at the pharmacy. However, if you are a private patient you have to pay for your contraceptives yourself.
In general: Talk to your boy*girlfriend or your parents about whether they might contribute to the cost of contraceptives.
From What Age Can You Take the Pill?
Like other hormonal contraceptives you can only be given the pill on prescription by your doctor. The decision whether to issue a prescription lies first and foremost with the doctor. This firstly depends on your age and secondly on your capacity for consent (maturity). Generally, with under 14s it is difficult to get a prescription for the pill without parental consent as the doctor assumes that under 14s do not yet have the capacity for consent. Because in the eyes of the law you are still a child and the doctor has a duty of care to protect you. With 14 and 15 year olds the doctor decides according to health aspects and level of maturity (capacity for consent).
The doctor decides in each individual case whether the parents should be involved or whether you as a girl are mature and responsible enough to assess the risks and side effects of taking the pill. With 14 to 15 year olds it is therefore always up to the doctor to weigh up the situation in each individual case. From the age of 16 the doctor generally assumes you have capacity for consent and they can therefore issue you a prescription for the pill without informing your parents about this.