Evaluating contraceptive choice through the method-mix approach. An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) task force study

Contraception. 2000 Feb;61(2):113-9. doi: 10.1016/s0010-7824(00)00089-5.


The method-mix approach was used to evaluate informed contraceptive choices in the present study. A total of 8,077 potential clients were given a balanced presentation of all available contraceptive methods in the national program, ie, the CuT 200 intrauterine device (IUD), low-dose combined oral pills (OC), condom, and sterilization (female/male) along with a new method, Norplant(R).(1) The majority of women opted for spacing methods; among them, the IUD was preferred by about 60% of clients, followed by condoms (9%), OC (6%), and Norplant (5%). Sterilization, mainly female, was accepted by about 17% of the women making an informed choice. The economic status of couples did not influence the contraceptive choices, as all the methods were offered free of cost in the present study, which is the current practice in the national program. Illiterate women more often accepted sterilization (about 25%) than did literate women (15%). This is because illiterate women had more children; about 30% of illiterate women had three or more children, as opposed to 16.2% of literate women. However, literacy status did not influence the choice of any specific spacing method. The study also revealed that, by encouraging potential clients to make an informed choice, they could override the provider's bias while accepting a particular type of spacing method. This is evident from the observation that Norplant was the first choice of the provider for 35% of the women, whereas only 5% of women preferred and accepted Norplant. The present study stresses an urgent need to promote the practice of informed choices in the national program with a variety of contraceptive options-especially, spacing methods for improving contraceptive prevalence and reproductive health in the country.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Condoms
  • Contraception / methods*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / therapeutic use
  • Contraceptives, Oral / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptives, Oral / therapeutic use
  • Copper
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Intrauterine Devices
  • Levonorgestrel / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Parity
  • Rural Population
  • Social Class
  • Sterilization, Tubal
  • Urban Population
  • Vasectomy


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Copper