Article Text

Curbing publicly-funded family planning services in Iran: who is affected?
  1. Amir Erfani
  1. Professor, Department of Sociology, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Amir Erfani, Department of Sociology, Nipissing University, 100 College Drive, Box 5002, North Bay, Ontario, Canada P1B 8L7; amire{at}


Objective In response to a persistent low fertility rate in the country, the Supreme Leader of Iran in 2012 called for the shift to pronatalist population policies. Consequently, Iran's Parliament proposed a bill to curb the provision of contraceptive knowledge and services as a solution to raising the country's low fertility rate. This study aimed to investigate which groups of women will be adversely affected if the provision of subsidised contraceptive methods [i.e. sterilisation, intrauterine device (IUD) and injections] is curbed.

Methods This study used recent data from the 2014 Tehran Survey of Fertility (n=3012) conducted among a representative sample of 3012 married women of reproductive age, and used multinomial logistic regression analysis to identify women with a higher likelihood of using government-funded contraceptive methods.

Results Currently 82% of married women living in Tehran use a contraceptive method. The use of long-acting contraception, namely sterilisation and IUDs, declined from 34% in 2000 to 20% in 2014, and the prevalence of male methods (withdrawal and condoms) increased from 33% to 55% in the same period. Multivariate results showed that women who have a large number of children, want no more children, live in poor districts, and have low education are more likely to use long-acting contraceptive methods than withdrawal and condoms.

Conclusions Women of low socioeconomic status who want to stop childbearing are the most vulnerable subgroups of the population if the publicly-funded family planning services are curbed.

  • family planning service provision
  • reproductive health politics
  • long-acting reversible contraception
  • service delivery
  • Iran

Statistics from


  • Contributors The author exclusively designed the survey and analysed data, wrote and revised the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was supported by an Insight Development grant (430-2011-0464) received from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The 2014 Tehran Survey of Fertility was funded by National Population Studies and Comprehensive Management Institute, Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology (Tehran, Iran) and Nipissing University (Ontario, Canada). An earlier version of this article, which was based on the 2009 Tehran Survey of Fertility, was presented at the 2013 XXVII IUSSP International Population Conference in Busan, South Korea.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Nipissing University's Research Ethics Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Any request for data sharing of the survey used in this paper will be considered by the author.

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