What is contraception?
Contraception is the deliberate prevention of pregnancy by physical or behavioural methods.
Methods of contraception are described here.
Many people accept that limiting the size of their family is not only necessary but desirable. Although no method is entirely without disadvantages, couples, given sufficient understanding and where suitable contraception methods are available to them, often come to some arrangement whereby they do not have unwanted pregnancies.
In some countries however, having very large families is not only part of the ordinary culture of people, but also a necessity in the face of a high mortality rate of babies and children. It has been estimated that the world population will increase in the next 50 years from 6 to 9 billion, with countries in the developing world showing the greatest rate of increase.
This represents a huge problem for mankind. It was highlighted in 1992 by a joint declaration by the Royal Society in the UK and the National Academy of Sciences in the USA that the most pressing scientific priority in the next decade was the development of new methods of contraception. That decade is now over, and in spite of many technical advances, the problem has not been solved. This is partly due to the moral and ethical problems that surround the issue of contraception.
Objections to the use of contraception