Millions of European couples use the withdrawal method as contraception
More women in Europe rely on the ‘withdrawal’ method to prevent pregnancy than in any other continent, a study has found.
The withdrawal method – where a man does not ejaculate into a woman’s vagina – is used as contraception by 7.8 per cent of couples, despite being one of the least reliable methods.
It can result in 27 per cent of people falling pregnant if not used correctly, yet the withdrawal method has replaced the Pill as the most popular form of contraception in Iran, and dominates in Southern Europe, Southern Asia and Western Asia.
The findings come from Superdrug analysis of a UN report, which shows that overall contraceptive use has grown in the world by 8.3 per cent since 1993.
Only in North America has usage decreased – by 0.3 per cent to 74.8 per cent, meaning it still has the highest contraceptive prevalence of any country.
The country with the lowest percentage of women using birth control is Africa, though injectable birth control has become more widespread there.
While North America has the highest contraception usage, China is the best country for using effective birth control - where the Pill is most popular, as it is in Europe.
In North America, the most popular method is female sterilisation.
Worldwide 19.2 per cent of women are sterilised, compared to just 2.4 per cent of men – making it the most commonly used contraception globally.
The UN report also found that 63.6 per cent of married or coupled women around the world rely on some form of birth control, while 36.4 per cent do not use contraception at all.
Superdrug commented: “Reproductive autonomy is a basic human right: Everyone in the world should deserve to decide the number and spacing of children they have. However, for women in some parts of the world, decisions about birth control have historically been out of their hands and instead driven by government policies within their country or region – including forced sterilisation policies, illegalisation of certain contraceptive methods, and population-control programmes.
“This study reveals that while the world has come a long way when it comes to family planning, access to diverse and affordable contraceptives varies greatly by region. Clearly, there is still further work that must be done to bring education, accessible contraceptives, and reliable health care services to all corners of the globe.”
The company urged people to also take care of their sexual health by using STI kits and visiting sexual health centres.