Planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans
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". Family planning may involve consideration of the number of children a woman wishes to have, including the choice to have no children, as well as the age at which she wishes to have them. These matters are influenced by external factors such as marital situation, career considerations, financial position, and any disabilities that may affect their ability to have children and raise them. If sexually active, family planning may involve the use of contraception and other techniques to control the timing of reproduction.
Combined oral contraceptives. Introduced in 1960, "the Pill" has played an instrumental role in family planning for decades.
Other aspects of family planning include sex education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and management, and infertility management. Family planning, as defined by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, encompasses services leading up to conception. Abortion is not considered a component of family planning, although access to contraception and family planning reduces the need for abortion.
Family planning is sometimes used as a synonym or euphemism for access to and the use of contraception. However, it often involves methods and practices in addition to contraception. Additionally, there are many who might wish to use contraception but are not, necessarily, planning a family (e.g., unmarried adolescents, young married couples delaying childbearing while building a career); family planning has become a catch-all phrase for much of the work undertaken in this realm. Contemporary notions of family planning, however, tend to place a woman and her childbearing decisions at the center of the discussion, as notions of women's empowerment and reproductive autonomy have gained traction in many parts of the world. 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 has been shown to reduce teenage birth rates and birth rates for unmarried women.
In 2006, the US Centers for Disease Control(CDC) issued a recommendation, encouraging men and women to formulate a reproductive life plan, to help them in avoiding unintended pregnancies and to improve the health of women and reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes.
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 a child has the resources that are needed in order to complete this goal.[dubious – discuss] With these resources a couple, man or woman 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.
There is no clear social impact case for or against conceiving a child. Individually, for most people, bearing a child or not has no measurable impact on person well-being. A review of the economic literature on life satisfaction shows that certain groups of people are much happier without children:
- Single parents
- Fathers who both work and raise the children equally.
- The divorced
- The poor
- Those whose children are older than 3
- Those whose children are sick
However, both adoptees and the adopters report that they are happier after adoption.Adoption may also insure against costs of prenatal or childhood disability which can be anticipated with prenatal screening or with reference to parental risk factors. For instance, older fathers and/or Advanced maternal age increase the risk of numerous health issues in their offspring, including autism and schizophrenia.Template:Sanchez, 2018