Menu Close

Access to Family Planning for Youth: Perspectives of Young Family Planning Leaders from 40 Countries


Cartwright, Alice F.; Otai, Jane; Maytan-Joneydi, Amelia; McGuire, Courtney; Sullivan, Emily; Olumide, Adesola O.; Baye Easton, Catherine; & Speizer, Ilene S. (2019). Access to Family Planning for Youth: Perspectives of Young Family Planning Leaders from 40 Countries. Gates Open Research, 3, 1513. PMCID: PMC6978846


Background: With growing populations of young people, low and middle-income countries have renewed focus on reaching both unmarried and married youth with family planning (FP) services. Young people themselves bring an important perspective to guide future programmatic directions.
Methods: In October 2018, 207 youth leaders in FP from around the world completed an online survey prior to their participation at the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP). These youth leaders provided their perspectives on the most important influencers for youth FP use, how easy or hard it is for youth to obtain FP, preferred sources of FP methods for youth, and perceptions of commonly used terms in FP programming. We examined differences in perceptions of unmarried and married youth's access to and use of FP using bivariate analyses.
Results: Respondents reported that peers/friends were the most important influencer on use of FP among unmarried youth (80.2%), while spouse/partner was the most important for married youth (80.4%). Oral contraceptive pills, injectable contraception, and contraceptive implants were perceived as significantly harder for unmarried youth to access. Privacy, confidentiality, and anonymity were all important factors for the locations to access FP for unmarried youth, while married youth were more influenced by cost. None of the commonly used terms for FP were perceived positively by a majority of respondents, with the exception of 'birth spacing' by African respondents (51.0%).
Conclusions: These findings indicate that the preferences and needs of unmarried youth are different than married youth, but that all young people face barriers accessing FP. Unmarried youth seeking family planning are more influenced by peers and friends and continue to face difficulty accessing methods compared to married youth. These findings indicate the importance of including youth perspectives in development of youth-focused family planning programs.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Gates Open Research


Cartwright, Alice F.
Otai, Jane
Maytan-Joneydi, Amelia
McGuire, Courtney
Sullivan, Emily
Olumide, Adesola O.
Baye Easton, Catherine
Speizer, Ilene S.