The role of men in Iran’s family planning program
Farzaneh Z. Roudi, Population Reference Bureau
Maha A. El-Adawy, The Ford Foundation
Iran has experienced dramatic fertility decline that is in part due to its national family planning program that encourages male participation. Contraceptive use in Iran is the highest among Muslim countries. Without the support and participation of men, the Iranian family planning program would not have been as successful as it is today. Today, 74% of married women of reproductive age practice family planning, with more than one-quarter of them relying on contraceptive methods that require direct participation of men: condoms, male sterilization, and withdrawal. The paper studies the evolution of the Iranian national family planning program with the focus on the contextual and structural aspects of the program that have contributed to overcoming cultural barriers to involving Muslim men in family planning and reproductive health care. The study uses surveys and analysis conducted by the ministry of health, as well as a series of personal interviews and fieldwork.