Empirically based conversion factors for calculating couple-years of protection

Eval Rev. 2000 Feb;24(1):3-46. doi: 10.1177/0193841X0002400101.


Couple-years of protection (CYP) is one of several commonly used indicators to assess international family planning efforts. It has been the subject of much debate, relating in part to the specific conversion factors used to translate the quantity of the respective contraceptive methods distributed to a single measure of protection. This article outlines a comprehensive effort to revisit those conversion factors based on the best available empirical evidence. In most instances, the analysis supports previously established standard conversion factors. However, there are two notable departures. Fewer condoms and spermicides are recommended for each CYP (120 vs. 150), primarily because coital frequency among condom users is lower than previously assumed. Furthermore, for sterilization, the authors recommend the use of country or region-specific conversion factors. Every program evaluation indicator has strengths and weaknesses, and the best program evaluation efforts use a variety of indicators. If CYP is used to evaluate programs, however, the authors believe that the conversion factors presented reflect the best available evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Data Collection
  • Family Planning Services / methods*
  • Family Planning Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Male
  • Sterilization, Reproductive / statistics & numerical data