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Combined oral contraceptives. Introduced in 1960, "the Pill" has played an instrumental role in family planning for decades.

Family planning is the planning of when to have children,[1] and the use of birth control[2][3] and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education,[3][4] prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections,[3] pre-conception counseling[3] and management, and infertility management.[2]

Family planning is sometimes used as a synonym for the use of birth control, though it often includes more. It is most usually applied to a female-male couple who wish to limit the number of children they have and/or to control the timing of pregnancy (also known as spacing children).

Family planning services are defined as "educational, comprehensive medical or social activities which enable individuals, including minors, to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved."[4]


Raising a child requires significant amounts of resources: time,[5] social, financial[6], environmental. Planning can help assure that resources are available.


See also: Maternal health and teenage pregnancy

Waiting until the mother is at least 18 years old before trying to have children improves maternal and child health.[7] Also, if additional children are desired after a child is born, it is healthier for the mother and the child to wait at least 2 years after the previous birth before attempting to conceive (but not more than 5 years).[7] After a miscarriage or abortion, it is healthier to wait at least 6 months.[7]


See also: Family economics

Childbirth and prenatal health care cost averaged $7,090 for normal delivery in the US in 1996.[8] US Department of Agriculture estimates that for a child born in 2007, a US family will spend an average of $11,000 to $23,000 per year for the first 17 years of child's life.[5] (Total inflation adjusted estimated expenditure: $196,000 to $393,000, depending on household income.)[5]


A family planning facility in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia.


See also: International Planned Parenthood FederationMarie Stopes International, and United States Agency for International Development

The world's largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programs is the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The main goals of the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action are:

  • Universal access to reproductive health services by 2015
  • Universal primary education and closing the gender gap in education by 2015
  • Reducing maternal mortality by 75% by 2015
  • Reducing infant mortality
  • Increasing life expectancy
  • Reducing HIV infection rates in persons aged 15–24 years by 25% in the most-affected countries by 2005, and by 25% globally by 2010

The World health organization (WHO) and World Bank estimate that $3.00 per person per year would provide basic family planning, maternal and neonatal health care to women in developing countries. This would include contraception, prenatal, delivery and post-natal care in addition to postpartum family planning and the promotion of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections.[9]


Main article: One-child policy

China's one-child policy encourages couples to have no more than one child. China's population policy has been credited with a very significant slowing of China's population growth which had been very high before the policy was implemented. It has come under criticism that the implementation of the policy has involved forced abortions and forced sterilization. However, while the punishment of "unplanned" pregnancy is a fine, both forced abortion and forced sterilization can be charged with intentional assault, which is punished with up to 10 years' imprisonment.Sex is being controlled by the law.


Main article: Family planning in Iran

Iran is another country which has succeeded in sharply reducing its birth rate in recent years.

United States

See also: Title X

Title X of the Public Health Service Act,[10] is a US government program dedicated to providing family planning services for those in need. But funding for Title X as a percentage of total public funding to family planning client services has steadily declined from 44% of total expenditures in 1980 to 12% in 2006. Medicaid has increased from 20% to 71% in the same time. In 2006, Medicaid contributed $1.3 billion to public family planning.[11]


Indian government has come up with measures to control population and increase awareness of the benefits of reducing population growth, which include better lifestyle, education, environment, health and well being of every individual. Despite these attempts, couples[attribution needed] site need of company for their child.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Couples[attribution needed] are feel that they can afford more than one child and do not realize that the environment needs to be able to provide for increasing human population.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Awareness campaigns include "We two, our's one", "Girl or Boy, let there just be one child".[How to reference and link to summary or text]

See also


  1. Mission Statement. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs.
  2. 2.0 2.1 WHO | Family planning
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 What services do family planning clinics provide? - Health Questions - NHS Direct(archived)
  4. 4.0 4.1 US Dept. of Health, Administration for children and families
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Expenditures on Children by Families, 2007; Miscellaneous Publication Number 1528-2007. United States Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. (archived)
  6. - Marriage, Kids & College - Family Planning
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy: HTSP Messages. USAID. URL accessed on 2008-05-13.
  8. Mushinski, M. (1998). Average charges for uncomplicated vaginal, cesarean and VBAC deliveries: Regional variations, United States, 1996.. Statistical Bulletin 79 (3): 17–28.
  9. Promises to Keep: The Toll of Unintended Pregnancies on Women's Lives in the Developing World. URL accessed on 2009-02-03.
  10. US Office of Population Affairs - Legislation
  11. Sonfield A, Alrich C and Gold RB, Public funding for family planning, sterilization and abortion services, FY 1980–2006, Occasional Report, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2008, No. 38.

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