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Family planning refers to the planning of when to have children,and the use of birth control. It allows individuals and couples to anticipate and have their desired number of children, and to achieve healthy spacing and timing of their births. Family planning is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility.[1] Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counselling and management, and infertility management.

Key facts

• Approximately 222 million women in developing countries would prefer to delay or stop childbearing but are not using any method of contraception.
• Family planning reduces the need for unsafe abortion.
• Family planning reinforces people’s rights to determine the number and spacing of their children
• Worldwide, 1 in 5 girls will have had a child by the age of 18.
• Young mothers are likely to be poor, less educated and to live in rural areas.
• The lifetime risk of maternal death – the probability that a 15 year old girl will ultimately die from a maternal cause – is 1 in 3,800 in developed countries but 1 in 150 in developing countries.
• A national survey in Nigeria in 2005 found almost a third of women believed that certain methods of contraception could lead to female infertility.
• Every $1 spent on family planning saves more than $4 that would be spent treating pregnancy-related complications.

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