Mississauga, ON, September 26, 2023 – Almost half of all pregnancies worldwide that occur each year – approximately 121 million – are unintended.1,2 On this World Contraception Day, Bayer Inc. (Bayer) along with its partners, emphasizes the theme of ‘Your Life Your Choices’. The theme is endorsed by over a dozen international organizations with a common interest in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people worldwide.3
Self-determined family planning with unrestricted access to contraceptives and knowing how to protect against sexually transmitted diseases is still a challenge globally. The latest data on bodily autonomy from 68 countries shows that an estimated 44% of partnered women and girls are still unable to make decisions over health care, sex or contraception.4 According to the data, 24% are unable to say no to sex, 25% are unable to make decisions about their own health care and 11% are unable to make decisions specifically about contraception.4
For those individuals, the inability to choose represents a barrier to their freedom of choice and bodily autonomy, which plays a role in the global inability to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets related to contraceptive use. These also affect the ability to meet overall SDGs such as gender equality, good health and wellbeing, ending poverty, ensuring quality education for all, and promoting sustained economic growth.2,5,6
“It’s devastating that despite all the progress made towards increasing access to modern contraception, there are still 257 million women in the world who lack that right,” says Dr. Claus Runge, Head of Market Access, Public Affairs and Sustainability, Bayer AG. “Young people - including the most vulnerable - need support and access to accurate information that addresses their needs, rights, and concerns, along with the resources, tools, and skills needed to make their own decisions. This is why Bayer aims to enable 100 million women per year in low- and lower-middle income countries (LMICs) to have their need for modern contraception fulfilled by 2030. In 2022, we already reached 44 million women in LMICs. Our partnerships with The Challenge Initiative (TCI) are instrumental in achieving this goal.”
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) views the constant high level of unintended pregnancies as a global failure to uphold a basic human right, and choice on whether or not to become pregnant. 6 As of 2021, globally there were still an estimated 257 million individuals who want to avoid pregnancy who are not using effective, modern methods of contraception and of these, 172 million are using no method at all.2,8
Barriers to access remain globally and in Canada
While more women and girls in LMICs are using modern methods of contraception compared to a decade ago, many others are still not choosing modern contraception due to numerous access barriers.9 These barriers include a lack of awareness and affordability, limitations based on age or marital status, stigma, fear and poverty, and gender inequality.2 Persisting myths and misperceptions about modern contraception are also barriers to using contraceptives.2,11
Data analysis from 150 countries highlights how barriers to accessing and using effective sexual and reproductive healthcare exist in all settings, not just those where resources are scarce.2,12 This analysis, the first-ever model-based country estimates for nearly all countries in the world, also reinforces the wide variation between countries in the rates and incidence of unintended pregnancy.2,12 Within Canada, nearly 50% of all pregnancies in Canada are unplanned4 and nearly 15% of sexually active women aged 15-19 not attempting to conceive do not use any contraception.15,16
“Bayer in Canada is committed to being partners in this shared journey to improve awareness and access to modern contraception for women in Canada and around the world,” says Diane Drolet, Business Unit Head, Women’s Health. “Nearly 50% of all pregnancies in Canada are still unintended. That is why Bayer is proud to support the mission of improved awareness surrounding contraception to help women and all those who need contraception make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.”
About World Contraception Day
The World Contraception Day (WCD), taking place every year on September 26, raises awareness among adolescents and youth regarding sexual and reproductive health. Providing young people access to scientifically accurate and non-judgmental information about a range of contraceptive methods, their pros and cons, and related sexual health topics encourages them to take control over their reproductive and sexual lives and helps them make informed choices.
Since its global launch in 2007, there are over a dozen international partners supporting WCD, including Bayer. The partners are dedicated to increasing access to and availability of family planning services and education. They have united to create and enhance awareness and also to underline the importance of empowering young people to learn about sexual and reproductive health as well as to talk boldly about it with their healthcare providers and partners. Together, the partners are calling on governments and decision-makers, encouraging them to also promote the subject at the political level.
About Women’s Healthcare at Bayer
Bayer is a recognized leader in the area of women’s healthcare, with a long-standing commitment to delivering science for a better life by advancing a portfolio of innovative treatments. Bayer offers a wide range birth control methods as well as therapies for menopause management and gynecological diseases. Bayer is also focusing on innovative options to address the unmet medical needs of women worldwide and to broadening treatment choices such as in the area of menopause. Additionally, Bayer intends to provide 100 million women per year in low-and-middle income countries by 2030 with access to family planning by funding multi-stakeholder aid programs and by ensuring the supply of affordable modern contraceptives. This is part of the comprehensive sustainability measures and commitments from 2020 onwards and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and the planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to driving sustainable development and generating a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2022, the Group employed around 101,000 people and had sales of 50.7 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 6.2 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.ca.
Find more information at www.bayer.ca.
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
1. Bearak, Jonthan et al. Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990–2019. Lancet Glob Health 2020; 8: e1152–61. Available at: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30315-6/fulltext
2. United Nations Population Fund. State of World Population 2022. Seeing the Unseen. Available at: https://www.unfpa.org/swp2022
3. World Contraception Day, Supporting Partners. Available at:
4. UNFPA/ State of World Population 2023. 8 billion lives, infinite possibilities. Available at: https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/swop23/SWOP2023-ENGLISH-230329-web.pdf
5. SDG Indicator 3.7.1 on Contraceptive Use. Available at: https://www.un.org/development/desa/pd/data/sdg-indicator-371-contraceptive-use
6. United Nations. Sustainable Development. The 17 Goals. Available at: https://sdgs.un.org/goals
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9. FP Measurement Report 2022 Brief. Available at: https://fp2030.org/resources/2022-measurement-report-brief Country level data at https://progress.fp2030.org/resources/
10. Sully EA et al. Adding It Up: Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health 2019. New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2020. Available at: https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/adding-it-up-investing-in-sexual-reproductive-health-2019.pdf
11. Parks, Jerry. Myths, Misconceptions Still Discourage Use of Family Planning. Population Reference Bureau 2019. Available at: https://www.prb.org/resources/myths-misconceptions-still-discourage-use-of-family-planning/
12. Bearak, Jonathan et al. BMJ Global Health 2022;7:e007151. Country-specific estimates of unintended pregnancy and abortion incidence: a global comparative analysis of levels in 2015-2019. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8943721/
13. Yazdkhasti, Mansureh et al.2015. Unintended Pregnancy and Its Adverse Social and Economic Consequences on Health System: A Narrative Review Article. Iranian Journal of Public Health 44(1): 12–21 . Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449999/
14. World Contraception Day Support Mission. Available at: https://www.your-life.com/en/for-doctors-parents-etc/about-wcd
15. Your Pregnancy, The SOGC of Canada. Unintended pregnancy – Pregnancy Info. Accessed August 10, 2023
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