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Contraception in Childbearing Couples

  • By: M. Kay Libbus
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Contraception refers to preventing conception and includes techniques that prevent fertilization of the egg or implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus. Birth control is the act of preventing birth and comprises techniques to avoid birth, including pregnancy termination. Religious and ethical concerns may limit contraception to methods based on the calculation of women's fertility (natural family planning). Permanent surgical methods, including bilateral tubal ligation (cutting the woman's fallopian tubes) or vasectomy (cutting the man's vas deferens), are nearly 100% effective. In the following discussion, first-year estimated failure rates, reported by the Guttmacher Institute, are presented as percentages of pregnancy occurrence despite contraceptive use under conditions of perfect use and of typical use. Pregnancy rates for intercourse without contraception are estimated as 85%.

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