|Original language||American English|
|Title of host publication||International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences|
|Editors||Neil J. Smelser, Paul B. Baltes|
|Place of Publication||Oxford|
|Number of pages||8|
|State||Published - 2001|
This article provides an overview of two primary means of fertility control: contraception and abortion. The various reasons humans have desired to control fertility are discussed first. A presentation of the types of fertility control methods, their historical significance, degrees of efficacy, and extents of use follow. Contraceptive failure rates—the proportions of women who become pregnant within a year of method use—are noted. Finally, there is an overview of contraceptive prevalence—the percentage of couples (with the woman of reproductive age) who are currently using contraception. Levels and trends of contraceptive prevalence and method mix in different regions of the world are presented.