Journal Article

Monitoring contraceptive continuation: Links to fertility outcomes and quality of care

This study examines the fertility consequences of contraceptive discontinuation, describes cross-national variation in continuation rates, and assesses the usefulness of the contraceptive discontinuation rate as a summary outcome indicator of quality of care. In the 15 countries included in this analysis, the total fertility rate would be between 28 and 64 percent lower if the births following discontinuations that were not the result of a desire to become pregnant had not occurred. The all-method discontinuation rate for quality-related reasons emerges as the most likely candidate for a summary measure of quality of care. Within a year of starting use of a method, between 7 and 27 percent of women cease to practice contraception for reasons related to the quality of the service environment. The results imply that as fertility declines, family planning programs would profit from a shift in emphasis from providing methods to new clients toward providing services to reduce discontinuation rates.