Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and management, and infertility management. Family planning is choosing the number of children in a family and the length of time between their births.
Family planning is sometimes used as a synonym for the use of birth control, however, it often includes a wide variety of methods, and practices that are not birth control. 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 may encompass sterilization, as well as abortion.
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."
Raising a child requires significant amounts of resources: time, social, financial, and environmental. Planning can help assure that resources are available. The purpose of family planning is to make sure that any couple, man, or woman who has the desire to have a child has the resources that are needed in order to complete this goal.[dubious ] With these resources a couple, man or women can explore the options of natural birth, surrogacy, artificial insemination or adoption. In the other case, if the person does not wish to have a child at the specific time, they can investigate the resources that are needed to prevent pregnancy, such as birth control, contraceptives, or physical protection and prevention.
Waiting until the mother is at least 18 years old before trying to have children improves maternal and child health. 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). After a miscarriage or abortion, it is healthier to wait at least 6 months.
When planning a family women who are over the age of 35 should be aware of the risks of having a child at that age. Older women are at a higher risk of having a child with autism and down syndrome, the chances of having multiple births increases, which cause further late-pregnancy risks, they have an increased chance of developing gestational diabetes, the need for a Caesarian-section is greater, older women's bodies are not as well-suited for delivering a baby. The risk of prolonged labor is higher. Older mothers have a higher risk of a long labor, putting the baby in distress.
"Family planning benefits the health and well-being of women and families throughout the world. Using contraception can help to avoid unwanted pregnancies and space births; protect against STDs, including HIV/AIDS; and provide other health benefits."
Modern methods 
In cases were couples may not want to have children just yet and plan with time family planning programs help a lot. Federal family planning programs reduced childbearing among poor women by as much as 29 percent, according to a University of Michigan study.
Adoption sometimes used to build a family. There are seven steps that one must make towards adoption. You must decide to pursue an adoption, apply to adopt, complete an adoption home study, get approved to adopt, be matched with a child, receive an adoptive placement, and then legalize the adoption.
Birth control 
Birth control are techniques used to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
There are a range of contraceptive methods, each with unique advantages and disadvantages. Any of the widely recognized methods of birth control is much more effective than no method. Behavioral methods that include intercourse, such as withdrawal and calendar based methods have little up front cost and are readily available, but are much less effective in typical use than most other methods. Long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, such as IUD and implant are highly effective and convenient, requiring little user action. When cost of failure is included, IUDs and vasectomy are much less costly than other methods. In addition to providing birth control, male or female condoms protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Condoms may be used alone, or in addition to other methods, as backup or to prevent STD. Surgical methods (tubal ligation, vasectomy) provide long term contraception for those who have completed their families.
Assisted reproductive technology 
There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. Traditional Surrogacy is where the Surrogate uses her own eggs AND carries the child for her Intended Parents. This procedure is done in a doctor's office through IUI. This type of surrogacy obviously includes a genetic connection between the surrogate and the child. Legally speaking, the Surrogate will have to disclaim any interest in the child to complete the transfer to the Intended Parents. A gestational surrogacy occurs when the Intended Mother's or a donor egg is fertilized outside the body and then the embryos are transferred into the uterus. The woman who carries the child is often referred to as a Gestational Carrier. The legal steps to confirm parentage with the Intended Parents are generally easier than in a traditional because there is no genetic connection between child and Carrier.
In sperm donations, pregnancies are usually achieved using donated sperm by artificial insemination (either by intracervical insemination or intrauterine insemination) and less commonly by invitro fertilization (IVF), usually known in this context as Assisted reproductive technology (ART), but insemination may also be achieved by a donor having sexual intercourse with a woman for the sole purpose of initiating conception. This method is known as natural insemination (NI).
Mapping of a woman's ovarian reserve, follicular dynamics and associated biomarkers can give an individual prognosis about future chances of pregnancy, facilitating an informed choice of when to have children.
Family planning is among the most cost-effective of all health interventions. "The cost savings stem from a reduction in unintended pregnancy, as well as a reduction in transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV."
Childbirth and prenatal health care cost averaged $7,090 for normal delivery in the US in 1996. 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. (Total inflation adjusted estimated expenditure: $196,000 to $393,000, depending on household income.)
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.
China's one-child policy forces couples to have no more than one child. Beginning in 1979, the policy was instated to control the rapid population growth that was occurring in the nation at that time. With the rapid change in population, China was facing many impacts of the rapid population growth including poverty and homelessness. As a developing nation, the Chinese government was concerned that a continuation of the rapid population growth that had been occurring would hinder their development as a nation. The process of family planning varied throughout China, as many different people differed in their responsiveness to the one child policy, based on location and socioeconomic status. For example, many families in the cities accepted this policy more readily based on the lack of space, money, and resources that are often offered in the cities. However, the people in rural areas of China were more hesitant in accepting this policy. Since the policy was put into place in 1979, over 400 million births have been prevented in China. China's population policy has been credited with a very significant slowing of China's population growth which had been higher before the policy was implemented. However, it has come under criticism that the policy has resulted in the abuse of women in China. Oftentimes implementation of the policy has involved forced abortions and forced sterilization. However, while the punishment of "unplanned" pregnancy is a large fine, both forced abortion and forced sterilization can be charged with intentional assault, which is punished with up to 10 years' imprisonment.
Another aspect of family planning in China due to the one-child policy is the differentiation between the desire for male and female children in both urban and rural locations. In the Chinese culture, the desire for a male child is much harder, making the abandonment or abortion of female infants or fetuses common in the rural areas of the nation. Another issue that is raised in the one-child policy in China is the information in regards to naturally giving birth to twins or triplets. If this situation arises, the family is allowed to keep the children because of the natural causes of this impregnation.
Hong Kong 
In Hong Kong, the Eugenics League was found in 1936, which became The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong in 1950. The organisation provides family planning advice, sex education, birth control services to the general public of Hong Kong. In the 1970s, due to the rapidly rising population, it launched the "Two Is Enough" campaign, which reduced the general birth rate through educational means.
The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong, Hong Kong's national family planning association, founded the International Planned Parenthood Federation with its counterparts in seven other countries.
The sale of contraceptives was illegal in Ireland from 1935 until 1980, when it was legalized with strong restrictions, later loosened. It has been argued that the resulting demographic dividend played a role in the economic boom in Ireland that began in the 1990s and ended abruptly in 2008 (the Celtic tiger) was in part due to the legalisation of contraception in 1979 and subsequent decline in the fertility rate. In Ireland the ratio of workers to dependents increased due to lower fertility — the reality of which has been questioned — but was raised further by increased female labor market participation.
In agreement with the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Pakistan pledged that by 2010 it would provide universal access to family planning. Additionally, Pakistan’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper has set specific national goals for increases in family planning and contraceptive use. In 2011 just one in five Pakistani women ages 15 to 49 uses modern birth control. Contraception is shunned under traditional social mores that are fiercely defended as fundamentalist Islam gains strength.
According to a 2004 study, current pregnancies were termed "desired and timely" by 58% of respondents, while 23% described them as "desired, but untimely", and 19% said they were "undesired". As of 2004, the share of women of reproductive age using hormonal or intrauterine birth control methods was about 46% (29% intrauterine, 17% hormonal). During the soviet era high quality contraceptives were difficult to obtain, and abortion became the most common way of preventing unwanted births. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union abortion rates have fallen considerably, but they are still higher than rates in many developed countries.
United Kingdom 
Contraception has been available for free under the National Health Service since 1974, and 74% of reproductive age women use some form of contraception. The levonorgestrel intrauterine system has been massively popular. Sterilization is popular in older age groups, among those 45–49, 29% of men and 21% of women have been sterilized. Female sterilization has been declining since 1996, when the intrauterine system was introduced. Emergency contraception has been available since the 1970s, a product was specifically licensed for emergency contraception in 1984, and emergency contraceptives became available over the counter in 2001. Since becoming available over the counter it has not reduced the use of other forms of contraception, as some moralists feared it might. In any year only 5% of women of childbearing age use emergency hormonal contraception.
United States 
Despite the availability of highly effective contraceptives, about half of US pregnancies are unintended. Highly effective contraceptives, such as IUD are underused in the United States. Increasing use of highly effective contraceptives could help meet the goal set forward in Healthy People 2020 to decrease unintended pregnancy by 10%. Cost to the user is one factor preventing many US women from using more effective contraceptives. Making contraceptives available without a copay increases use of highly effective methods, reduces unintended pregnancies, and may be instrumental in achieving the Healthy People 2020 goal.
In the United States, contraceptive use saves about $19 billion in direct medical costs each year. Title X of the Public Health Service Act, 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. The 1.9 billion spent on publicly funded family planning in 2008 saved an estimated $7 billion in short term Medicaid costs. Such services helped women prevent an estimated 1.94 million unintended pregnancies and 810,000 abortions.
More than 1 out of 3 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.
World Contraception Day 
The 26th of September is World Contraception Day, devoted to raising awareness of contraception and improving education about sexual and reproductive health, with a vision of a world where every pregnancy is wanted. It is supported by a group of international NGOs, including Asian Pacific Council on Contraception, Centro Latinamericano Salud y Mujer, European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health, German Foundation for World Population, International Federation of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International, Population Services International, The Population Council, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Women Deliver.
See also 
- Life planning
- Natural family planning
- natalism and antinatalism
- Parental leave
- POPLINE: World's largest reproductive health database, part of The INFO Project
- Sex selection
- Birth in Sri Lanka
- Women in Bolivia
- Birth in Benin
- Abortion in Panama
- Opata people
- Reproductive coercion
- International Planned Parenthood Federation
- Marie Stopes International
- Centre for Development and Population Activities
- Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition
- British Pregnancy Advisory Service
- Family Planning Association (UK)
- Family Planning Association India
- Family Planning Association of Hong Kong
- German Foundation for World Population (DSW)
- National Alliance for Optional Parenthood (USA)
- Planned Parenthood (USA)
- "Mission Statement". US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs.
- Family planning — WHO
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- History of the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong
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- ESRI says fertility rate is greatly underestimated
- Hardee, Karen; Leahy, Elizabeth (2007). "Population, Fertility and Family Planning in Pakistan: A Program in Stagnation". Population Action International 4 (1): 1–12.
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- US Office of Population Affairs — Legislation
- Sonfield A, Alrich C, Gold RB (2008). Public funding for family planning, sterilization and abortion services, FY 1980–2006 (PDF). Occasional Report 38. New York: Guttmacher Institute.
- "Abortion". Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Family planning|
- Siedlecky, Stefania; Wyndham, Diana (1990), Populate and perish : Australian women's fight for birth control, Allen & Unwin, ISBN 978-0-04-442220-4 
- The Environmental Politics of Population and Overpopulation A University of California, Berkeley summary of historical, contemporary and environmental concerns involving women's health, population, and family planning
- A World too Full of People by Mary Fitzgerald, NewStatesman, August 30, 2010
- Reproline-Family Planning JHPIEGO affiliate of Johns Hopkins University