Measuring Contraceptive Autonomy at Two Sites in Burkina Faso: A First Attempt to Measure a Novel Family Planning Indicator

Stud Fam Plann. 2023 Mar;54(1):201-230. doi: 10.1111/sifp.12224. Epub 2023 Feb 2.


There is growing consensus in the family planning community around the need for novel measures of autonomy. Existing literature highlights the tension between efforts to pursue contraceptive targets and maximize uptake on the one hand, and efforts to promote quality, person-centeredness, and contraceptive autonomy on the other hand. Here, we pilot a novel measure of contraceptive autonomy, measuring it at two Health and Demographic Surveillance System sites in Burkina Faso. We conducted a population-based survey with 3,929 women of reproductive age, testing an array of new survey items within the three subdomains of informed choice, full choice, and free choice. In addition to providing tentative estimates of the prevalence of contraceptive autonomy and its subdomains in our sample of Burkinabè women, we critically examine which parts of the proposed methodology worked well, what challenges/limitations we encountered, and what next steps might be for refining, improving, and validating the indicator. We demonstrate that contraceptive autonomy can be measured at the population level but a number of complex measurement challenges remain. Rather than a final validated tool, we consider this a step on a long road toward a more person-centered measurement agenda for the global family planning community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burkina Faso
  • Contraception
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Contraceptive Agents*
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Contraceptive Agents