Inadequacy of contraceptive methods

Other Names:
Lack of ideal contraceptives
Inadequacy of contraceptives
Contraceptive failure
Inadequate supervision of contraceptive use

Many birth control methods are difficult to deliver in service settings, especially in developing countries. Problems of storage exist in countries where extended or multiple families all live in one area, and also where high humidity and heat are constant. For contraceptive methods that require paraphernalia, it is often difficult for a user to get to a clinic or other purchase point for re-supply due to: unavailable or unreliable transportation and road networks; the length of time involved in getting to and from the supply point; and also the long wait inevitable in most clinics in developing countries. Most current methods of birth control do not involve male participation, thus rendering the husband less involved in family planning. Finally, both oral contraceptives and the IUD have been linked to such diseases as cervical and breast cancers, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

None of the currently available methods of contraception is free from drawbacks. Both short-term side effects and long-term hazards to health are associated with hormonal contraceptives and intrauterine devices, while the barrier methods and behavioural techniques are difficult to use and often only partially effective. Sterilization and abortion both entail surgical risks and, especially in the case of abortion, are the subject of considerable controversy because of ethical and religious objections to their use. Thus, while the revolution in family planning technology has made current family planning programmes possible, today's technology continues to be deficient in ways that lead to unwanted pregnancies, high discontinuation-of-use rates, and exposure to health hazards among people who seek to limit their fertility. Improvements in contraceptive technology remains a major goal of population research efforts.


The reported contraceptive failure rates per 100 users are: 10-30 for natural family planning, 3-15 for condoms, 4-25 for the diaphragm, 10-25 for spermicides, 1-8 for combined oral contraceptives, less than 1 for injectable and implanted contraceptives, 1-5 for IUDs and less than 1 for surgical contraception. The only method that is 100% effective with no health risks is total abstinence.

In the USA no new types of contraceptives have appeared for 30 years because of punitive lawsuits against the manufacturers of new products. It is estimated that half of the 1.5 million abortions there result from contraceptive failure.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST