Working Paper

Standard Days Method of Contraception: Evidence on Use, Implementation, and Scale Up

Since the early 2000s, the Standard Days Method (SDM) of family planning has been tested, introduced, and scaled up in countries around the world. SDM is a fertility awareness-based method for avoiding unprotected intercourse during the fertile period, days eight through 19 of a woman’s menstrual cycle (for women whose cycles range from 26 to 32 days). Most SDM users utilize a visual aid—CycleBeads®—to assist their correct use of SDM. In a 2002 trial, the method’s first year failure rate (5 per 100 woman years with correct use and 12 per 100 woman years for typical use) was established, commensurate with certain other modern methods of contraception; since then, SDM has been introduced as well as studied in a variety of low and middle income countries (LMIC), and has been scaled up in some.

This working paper summarizes the results of a structured review on SDM by the Evidence Project in 2014. This review utilized standardized search strings and systematic screening and abstracting criteria for reviewing available peer-reviewed and grey literature reports on SDM outcomes. Fifty-two reports and peer-reviewed articles were included and abstracted for data and information on client outcomes, provider outcomes, SDM service delivery characteristics, cost effectiveness, and implementation and scale up documentation. The included literature covered SDM implementation, scale up, social marketing, provider training, costing, and studies of most significant change in 23 countries from 1999 to 2014.