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The term "family planning" refers to the educational medical or social activities enabling people to freely determine the spacing and number of their children and selecting the methods by which such spacing and number of their children can be achieved. This can involve the option of having no children at all or the age at which a woman wants to have them. These considerations ay be guided by seemingly external factors as a woman's marital situation, financial situation, career considerations, or health conditions. The United Nations and the World Health Organization indicate that family planning involves services which lead up to conception, and neither organization promotes abortion as a family planning method.

Family planning can involve contraception method including the so-called rhythm method. I also includes such things as prevention or management of sexually transmitted diseases or infections, education, or infertility management. The term itself is frequently used as a euphemism for use of contraception as well as the access to contraception. Contraception has been freely available and at no cost to the user under the National Health Service since 1974, with approximately 75%of women of child-bearing age using one form or another of contraception.

The most commonly used form of contraception in England is the Intrauterine device (IUD) with progestogen, a device which releases a hormone called levonorgestrel. It is implanted in the uterus and may remain there for up to five years and is one of the most effective methods of birth control with a failure rate comparable to tubal ligation, the second most popular form of birth control in the United Kingdom.

Emergency contraception, also called emergency postcoital contraception, is also considered a form of family planning. Emergency contraception methods are used after sexual intercourse as a contraception. In its pill form, this is frequently called "the morning after pill." The pill delays or disrupts fertilization or ovulation so that pregnancy does not happen.

Even with the universal availability of contraceptives, 40% of all pregnancies in England were unintended in 2017.



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