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Increasing Men’s Interest in Family Planning Centers: Lessons Learned From Switzerland

Leila Sadeghi, Rainer Kamber, Christine Sieber, Francesca Rotunno, Ans Luyben

Health Division, aR&D Nutrition and Dietetics, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Bern, Switzerland

Med Sci Rev 2016; 3:100-109

DOI: 10.12659/MSRev.898874

Available online:

Published: 2016-07-22


ABSTRACT: Family planning centers traditionally provide services for women. One of the strategies of SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland is to improve men’s access to the services offered by the family planning centers in order to assist them in the field of sexual and reproductive health.
The aim of the study was to evaluate men’s use of available sexual health services at Swiss family planning centers and to identify factors influencing men’s participation in such services.
The project was carried out by researchers at Bern University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland and lasted 8 months, from September 2012 to April 2013. An invitation letter to participate in an online survey was sent by email to the 71 family planning centers in Switzerland. The questions were addressed to family planning centers in the format of an online survey created in both German and French, the 2 languages spoken in most of Switzerland. The key themes of the survey involved services that are expected by the planning centers to be used by men and included: 1) consultation for pregnancy or ambivalence on pregnancy, 2) contraception, 3) information and advice concerning sexuality, and 4) STI/HIV prevention and HIV testing.
Of the 31 participating family planning centers, the majority indicated that men attended consultations for sexuality (97%, N=30), contraception (94%, N=29), ambivalence on pregnancy (94%, N=29), pregnancy (71%, N=22), desire to become a parent (71%, N=22), and antenatal screening (42%, N=13). Some 65% of the centers stated that men usually came to consultations in regard to an unplanned pregnancy while accompanying their partner. In about 40% of cases, the reason for not accompanying the woman to a consultation was that the woman herself refused to have the partner participate.
The number of men consulting family planning centers is limited. Focused strategies and promotional activities such as specific information for men and new offers considering their needs are required to increase men’s attendance. According to the surveyed centers, women attending family planning centers seem to play a crucial role in encouraging or discouraging attendance of their male partner. Further research is needed into perceptions and attitudes of men and women attending these centers, particularly in the context of a pregnancy conflict.

Keywords: Health Surveys, Needs Assessment, Pregnancy, Unplanned, Sex Education