Overpopulation in Developing Countries: What’s the Best Method to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies?

Simran Thomas | February 15, 2024 | Leave a Comment

“Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended”– United Nations Population Fund

140 million people are born every year on Earth, 385,000 per day, and 259 per minute [1]. With these increasingly high birth rates, it becomes harder to conserve natural resources which has a detrimental effect on living spaces. Developing countries, countries with low economic and industrial status, are where some of the highest spikes in birth rates occur. But the bigger issue, stated by the United Nations Population Fund, is that nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended [2]. All these accidental pregnancies have a huge toll on the environment, economy, and health of these nations. In this investigation, a multitude of perspectives are involved to analyze the extent to which method is the “best” for the future of these countries.  

Some propose that the best solution can be achieved by an individual through community services like spreading awareness and educating others on population issues. With this, the project takes an ethical approach to restore a rundown nation in the hope that with enough support family sizes will decrease and environments will become less polluted in the prospects of these nations. 

China once took a more forceful approach to limiting its population size. In the 1970s, Emperor Mao Zedong created the one-child policy limiting the children per mother to one child. As a citizen of a developing country herself, Mei Fong, author of the book One Child and Chief Communications Officer of The First Watch, an international organization that specializes in Human Rights Advocacy, argues that this one-child policy took away basic human rights belonging to all women and China, and as a result, created social riots and led to more gender inequality [3]. Though the Chinese policy proved to be safe and very effective leading to a healthier, cleaner environment it took away the very right that individuals were born with.  

Another approach by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is to introduce more sexual education programs to communities [4].  Such a sexual education program includes accurate information and is shown to teens in medical clinics, schools, etc, to share the importance of this knowledge. In 2008, a rigorous review of evidence from the comprehensive sex education program’s impact on sexual behavior proved sex education to be effective [4]. Not only did the program reduce misinformation but allowed young people to have a stronger say and knowledge on decisions about their health. Though it may not lead to drastic and immediate change like the one-child policy, it offers a safer, more socially acceptable method for future generations.  



Nearly 90% of all births in the world come from developing countriesNational Research Council (US) Panel on Reproductive Health

It is because so many pregnancies are accidental that more solutions are needed to increase the amount of “safe sex” (particularly in developing regions), and especially because the results can reduce the quality of life for ‘unintended’ children.   

As a result, solutions like abortion, condoms, birth control, etc come in handy. But contraceptives like these have their own flaws. Abortions can be expensive and many people question the ethics of it. Yet, abortion is known worldwide as one of the safest methods of pregnancy removal and is quite effective according to Yale Medicine [5]. However, it is important to acknowledge that abortion may only be needed because individuals were poorly educated about reproductive health in the first place.

Alternatively, a new uprising German invention called the Testicle Bath Contraception works to “sterilize” testicles when placed in the bath [6]. This new medical device uses ultrasound to temporarily make the user infertile. However, this device is still new and in testing, and more information is needed before it can be safely used. It offers huge promises for the future of developing nations by creating a simple solution. The use of these medical interventions may provide the necessary security people need for a happy, sustainable country but further inquiries show that these medical devices alone aren’t enough to create prominent change in population size. 

Though the different methods have their perks and issues, some of them fare better than others when looking at the future outcomes of a nation. Developing countries like India, Africa, Afghanistan, etc all currently have a low economic status, the citizens are mostly in low-wage jobs, and impoverished due to having too many children.

When analyzing the research on the proposed solutions, it becomes clear that sexual education programs have impactful results when paired with access to medical contraceptives. As a result, if made more available, both of these methods could help these nations become more industrialized and healthier. However, access to medical contraceptives and sex education in developing countries is often poor [7]. 

This means children are unaware at an early age of contraception, sexual terminology, and the power they hold. It is increasing education in these countries that lays the foundation of knowledge necessary to not only give children more independence but also increase job availability.

As a result, the countries may, in future generations, become more developed and the impoverished state of developing nations will begin to decrease. Contraceptives paired with sex education are powerful tools. By investing in reproductive education programs as well as general education, a future of stronger, more resilient individuals becomes promising.



Further Reading

  1. The World Counts. Number of Births Globally so Far This Year
  2. UNFA (2022).“Nearly Half of All Pregnancies Are Unintended-a Global Crisis, Says New UNFPA Report.” 
  3. Fong, Mei (2022). How to Fix China’s Population Crisis: Say Sorry to Women.” Human Rights Watch, 5 July 2022.  
  4. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology ACOG (2016)Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
  5. Madden, Tessa (2023). Medication Abortion: Your Questions Answered. Yale Medicine, 11 Sept. 2023. 
  6. Hako, Nasi (2021). German Graduate Invents “Testicle Bath Contraception” for Temporary at-Home Male Sterilisation. News 24 Life
  7. Schivone and Blumenthal (2016). Contraception in the Developing World: Special Considerations. Seminars in reproductive medicine.


My name is Simran and I’m a junior at Orlando Science High School. In high school, I found a love for helping people, the humanities, and the environment. As the current president of the environmental club and a top 5 HOSA-prepared speaker, I have been able to deepen my love and interest in social rights. I want to envision a world of stability and sustainability for all people of different backgrounds. I hope to create more awareness of global problems that could otherwise be easily ignored. It is because I had decided to take an AP seminar that sparked my interest along with three others. My team and I had all worked on different aspects of the project, but it was because I saw the project through a futuristic lens that pushed me to think of a sustainable solution not only for now but for future generations as well. The more I learn the more I find myself fascinated with the topic, which eventually led to this blog. I hope that my work has sparked an interest or contributed to research. Thank you for reading!

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