Working Paper

Men as Contraceptive Users: Programs, Outcomes and Recommendations

Efforts to expand the vision for constructive male engagement are evolving from encouraging men to be supportive partners of women’s reproductive health to also focus on meeting men’s own reproductive health needs and engaging men as contraceptive users and agents of change in families and communities. Knowledge about reaching men as clients of family planning services in today’s programming environment is still limited.

This paper reviews 47 current activities, programs and evidence that affect men’s use of contraceptive methods. The review draws from published and grey literature, as well as from interviews with organizations and institutions, which focused on men as users of contraception in low- and middle-income countries. The review includes three methods that men use directly (condoms, vasectomy and withdrawal) and one that requires their direct cooperation (the Standard Days Method). A companion review by Perry et al., 2016, includes a more detailed review of vasectomy programming.

Direct programming addressing men’s contraceptive use remains limited, but the existing evidence of men’s desire for information and services, as well as men’s positive response to existing programming, illustrates the value of expanded programming for men and boys in family planning and contraceptive services. Scaling up successful programming identified in this review will increase men’s knowledge and use of family planning services, reduce barriers, increase gender equality and improve the health and well being of men and women, boys and girls worldwide.