Family Planning

Family PlanningThis page is also available in French.

In 2013, approximately 289,000 women died from problems related to pregnancy or childbirth (WHO). The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, however, estimates that approximately 1 in 4 women could be saved if they had global access to contraception. Simply meeting the unmet need for family planning services would also prevent 1.1 million infant deaths (Guttmacher Institute). Family planning remains out of reach for many couples in low-income settings—more than 200 million couples in the developing world are unable to control the number and spacing of their births. In some African countries, the level of unmet need for family planning exceeds the level of contraceptive use. Among the many technologies available to improve the human condition, family planning is one of the most cost-effective interventions with enduring health and welfare benefits for women, families, nations and the entire world. The coming decades will see a record number of young people entering prime reproductive ages, requiring the means to prevent unplanned pregnancy and achieve healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies. Reaching Millennium Development Goal 5b, universal access to reproductive health, requires comprehensive resource planning, which in turn requires a continually refreshed base of strong evidence, best practices, and a wide range of contraceptive commodities.


Singh, S., & Darroch, J. E. (2012). Adding it up: Costs and benefits of contraceptive services. Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA.

World Health Organization (2014). Why do so many women still die in pregnancy or childbirth? Online Q&A. Retrieved from