TABLE Ways to Classify Commonly Used Contraceptives for Consideration by Countries and Family Planning Programs
Classification SystemFemale Ster.Vas.ImplantCopper IUDHormonal IUSInjectableOCPECP, 1.5 mg LNGMale CondomFemale CondomDia-phragmLAMSDMTDMRhythm/Calendar MethodWith-drawal
Modern or traditionalMMMMMMMMMMMMMMTT
Level or tier of effectiveness11111223a33323344
Need for programme supportHiHiHiHiHiMeLoLoLoLoLoMeMeMeNoNo
Male- or female-controlled, or bothFCMCFCFCFCFCFCFCMCFCFCFCBothBothBothMC
Coitally dependent/relatedNNNNNNNYYYYNYYYY
Need for surgical procedure to useYYYNNNNNNNNNNNNN
Presence of hormonesNNYNYYYYNNNNNNNN
Client's ability to discontinue without needing a providerNNNNNYYYYYYYYYYY
Return to fertility after discontinuation of methodUUIIIDIIIIIDIIII
  • Abbreviations of contraceptive methods: ECP, emergency contraceptive pill; IUD, intrauterine device; IUS, intrauterine system; LAM, Lactational Amenorrhea Method; LNG, levonorgestrel; OCP, oral contraceptive pill; SDM, Standard Days Method; Ster., sterilization; TDM, TwoDay Method; Vas., vasectomry.

  • a If 100 women used progestin-only ECPs, one would likely become pregnant (from Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers, 2011 update). Please note that effectiveness in ECP studies was computed on women’s use after one act of protected intercourse, which is different from analyses of other contraceptive effectiveness studies.

  • Legend:

  • Modern or traditional: M, modern; T, traditional.

  • Level or tier of effectiveness: 1, 2, 3, or 4 (as per Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers, 2011 update)

  • Need for programme support: Hi, high (requires clinic setting with trained and skilled providers); Me, medium (can be provided in non-clinical setting by trained and skilled providers); Lo, low (can be provided in community distribution programmes, over the counter, or in informal settings); No, none.

  • Duration of labelled use: P, permanent; LA, long-acting; MA, medium-acting; SA, short-acting. Note: Medium-acting is not a commonly used category but is presented here to distinguish it from the methods which are labelled for a lesser period of effect.

  • Male- or female-controlled, or both: MC, male-controlled; FC, female-controlled; Both, requires cooperation of both the man and the woman.

  • Coitally dependent/related (requires specific intervention at the time of intercourse): Y, yes; N, no.

  • Need for surgical procedure to use: Y, yes; N, no.

  • Presence of hormones: Y, yes; N, no.

  • Client's ability to discontinue without reliance on a provider: Y, yes; N, no.

  • Return to fertility after discontinuation of method: I, immediate; D, delayed; Ne, never; U, uncertain success after reversal.

  • Source: Developed by the World Health Organization for a consultation on contraceptive classification and presented at the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning; 2016 Jan 25–28; Nusa Dua, Indonesia.