Understanding the Calculator

  • What does “family planning investment” mean?

    The Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator generates impact estimates for actual, planned or hypothetical investments specifically focused on family planning services. Family planning investments are assumed to cover the full cost of contraceptive care, which includes:

    • • Service delivery costs: contraceptive commodities, drugs, supplies and health worker salaries.
    • • Programs and systems costs: program management, staff supervision, monitoring and evaluation, human resources development, transport, telecommunications, health education and outreach, advocacy, infrastructure, equipment, commodity supply systems and health information systems. Programs and systems costs (also called indirect costs) are estimated by applying region-specific markup rates to direct costs (see the Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator Methodology for more information).

    If your total investment includes funds for health care services other than family planning, those funds should be excluded from the total entered into the calculator. If your investment is not intended to apply to the full range of costs of providing care (i.e., funds are for specific programs or are restricted to certain elements of service provision), this tool cannot provide accurate impact estimates.

  • What types of impacts does the calculator estimate?

    The Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator estimates the following health impacts expected to result from investment in family planning:

    • The number of women and couples who would receive modern contraceptive care. Modern contraceptive methods are defined in this analysis as any of the following:
      • • Permanent methods (female and male sterilization)
      • • Long-acting reversible methods (implants and IUDs)
      • • Short-acting methods (hormonal pills, injectables, male and female condoms, emergency contraceptive pills, patches, rings, diaphragms, vaginal spermicides and other supply methods)
      • • Lactational amenorrhea method, which involves exclusive breastfeeding for up to six months postpartum
      • • Two fertility awareness–based methods (the Standard Days Method and the TwoDay Method)
    • Unintended pregnancies averted. Unintended pregnancies are pregnancies that occur sooner than desired or that are not wanted at all.
    • Unplanned births averted. An unplanned birth is a birth resulting from an unintended pregnancy.
    • Unsafe abortions averted. Unsafe abortions are those abortions that do not adhere to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of safe abortion (i.e., carried out by someone with the necessary skills, using a method recommended by WHO as appropriate to the gestational age).
    • Lives saved. In this context, a life saved is defined as a maternal death prevented. WHO defines a maternal death as a “death during pregnancy, childbirth or up to 42 days after the pregnancy ended, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.”
    • Cost savings. The calculator provides estimates of how much will be saved on pregnancy-related and newborn care for every additional US$1 invested in family planning (through the prevention of unintended pregnancies).

    Investments in family planning would also have many effects not captured by the calculator, including longer-term improvements in a range of outcomes, including gender equality, the economic well-being of women and households, productivity, resources that families can spend on children, and gross domestic product.

  • How should I interpret the impact estimates?

    The calculator estimates health benefits of actual, planned or hypothetical investments in family planning. The costs for estimating the number of users served are based on the current provision of care. If the calculator is used to estimate a large hypothetical investment intended to meet a large portion of family planning need, the calculator may underestimate the costs required to serve all users. This is because larger investments are needed to drastically scale up the number of users served by a family planning program. If your interest is in the investments required to meet all need and the resulting impacts this would have, please refer to the Adding It Up 2019 report, which already produces estimates of the cost and impact of meeting all need for contraceptive care. See the Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator Methodology for more information.

    Impact estimates must be interpreted in the context of current funding for family planning. For instance, the estimated impact of an investment amount equal to a country’s current funding could reflect current impact, or it could be considered additive if the investment is intended to supplement the current funding level. The country-level estimates of current contraceptive use available in our country profiles provide helpful context for the impacts of funding on the number of women and couples receiving contraceptive care.

  • How are the estimates produced?

    The Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator is based on the Guttmacher Institute’s Adding It Up model, which estimates the impact of investing in a broad range of sexual and reproductive health care services in low- and middle-income countries. The methodology for the calculator is explained in detail in the Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator Methodology.

  • Why does the funding have to be for one year?

    Assessing the impacts of funding over a multiyear period would require accounting for multiple years of use among modern contraceptive users, which is not feasible with this tool. Thus, the model behind the Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator assumes that all investments are made for a single calendar year, in this instance, during 2022.

  • Will these estimates be updated in the future?

    Adding It Up is an ongoing body of work that is published periodically. When the next Adding It Up is released (anticipated in 2023), the Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator will also be updated. Until the new update, the calculator will only produce estimates for 2022.

  • What countries are included?

    Estimates can be produced for each of 132 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), based on the World Bank gross national income classification for 2018. They can also be produced for all LMICs or for LMICs in a specific region or subregion.

  • Besides the funding itself, what else is needed when investing in family planning programs?

    All investments in family planning must include commitments to use a high-quality, rights-based approach to family planning care. Per the World Health Organization (WHO), “Elements of quality of care include: choice among a wide range of contraceptive methods; evidence-based information on the effectiveness, risks and benefits of different methods; technically competent trained health workers; provider–user relationships based on respect for informed choice, privacy and confidentiality; and the appropriate constellation of services (including follow-up) that are available in the same locality.” The Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator does not account for whether investments will address these vital components.

    Please see the following additional resources for guidance on incorporating a human rights framework into contraceptive service provision:

  • How does this calculator differ from other tools?

    In addition to the Adding It Up model (on which the Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator is based), several other tools estimate the impact of investing in contraception, including Impact 2, from MSI Reproductive Choices; ImpactNow, from the U.S. Agency for International Development; Reality Check, from EngenderHealth; FamPlan and the Lives Saved Tool (LiST), from Avenir Health; and the FP2030-Track20 Annual Indicator Calculator. Comparisons of estimates across these models, as well as additional information on the tools, can be found in this article.


  • Why did the calculator not generate graphics?

    The Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator generates graphics for only one recipient country, subregion or region at a time; if you select multiple recipients, the calculator will produce a table but no graphics. If you want to generate graphics for multiple recipients, run the calculator for each recipient individually.

  • How do I calculate the impact of one investment that goes to multiple recipients?

    If the multiple recipients are in (or align closely with) a United Nations Population Division region or subregion, you can run the calculator for all low- and middle-income countries in that region or subregion.

    If the recipients do not belong to the same region or subregion, you have two options:

    1. If the investment is distributed by certain percentages or amounts (or divided approximately equally) among the different recipients, you can calculate the amount each recipient receives and enter these amounts into the calculator.
    2. If you do not know how the investment is divided among the different recipients, then you should select “All LMICs” from the recipient dropdown menu and enter the full amount of the investment. This option allows the calculator to use an average estimate of impact from all LMICs. This is likely the best option if the investment is coming from a multilateral agency, such as United Nations Population Fund.
  • Can I adjust the contraceptive method mix, abortion rate or other assumptions used to produce impact estimates?

    The assumptions underlying the estimates provided by the Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator (i.e., method mix distributions, modern contraceptive use rates, unintended pregnancy rates and abortion rates) are fixed, using data from 2019. For more information on the assumptions in this model, see the Adding It Up Methodology Report.

  • Can I input a per capita investment?

    If you want to estimate the impacts of funding that is provided on a per capita basis, you will need to convert that funding to a total by multiplying it by the population of the recipient countries, subregions or regions. You can find the 2019 population for individual countries through the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division 2019 update of World Population Prospects. Be sure to multiply by the total 2019 population (male and female, all ages) if the funding is per capita. If the funding is per woman of reproductive age, multiply by only the 2019 population of women aged 15–49.

  • Can I specify where the funding goes—for instance, to service delivery, personnel, etc.?

    The Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator generates impacts under the assumption that the investments cover the full cost of contraceptive care—and thus go toward both service delivery and associated programs and systems. The calculator cannot estimate impact of individual components of the full cost of care. If your investment is for a specific family planning program or for only certain elements of service provision, this calculator may not accurately reflect the impacts of the investments you input. Other tools may be more appropriate for assessing the impact of those types of investments.

  • Why didn’t the investment I entered work?

    The investment amount entered must not exceed the amount needed to provide modern contraceptive services to all women in the selected country, subregion or region who are estimated to be in need of modern methods. Note that although the need for modern methods (i.e., overall demand) is used as the maximum number of potential users, not all women estimated to need modern contraception will necessarily want to use it. Visit our country profiles for information on the cost of meeting all needs for family planning.

  • What do I do if I have questions not answered here?

    The Family Planning Investment Impact Calculator Methodology gives a more complete and specific account of how the calculator works. If you do not find the answers you need there, please email us at [email protected].

  • What do I do if the calculator is missing something I need for my calculations?

    We are interested in your suggestions for improving the calculator! Please email us at [email protected].