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GPs "must rethink family planning"

Methods of delivering family planning advice should be re-examined to help halt population growth, according to a university professor.

Reproductive Health Professor, John Guillebaud, based at University College, London, insisted that population growth needs to be considered alongside environmental sustainability, contraception for all and individual family sizes.

Speaking at the annual Royal College of General Practitioners primary care conference, he said doctors needed to rethink how they advise patients on reproductive health.

Professor Guillebaud presented a paper: Sex and the world population 'youthquake' - a sustainable future?

He said: "GPs rightly play a significant role in preventing unplanned pregnancies, especially among young people.

"But what about planned pregnancies? Without censoring those who through ignorance of these issues had larger families in the past, shouldn't we now promote a non-rigid guideline to UK couples that a two-child maximum is the greatest contribution anyone can make to a habitable planet for our grandchildren?

"Isn't contraception the medical profession's prime contribution to future sustainability, everywhere?"

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Royal College of General Practitioners

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Tend to agree and we must not demonise those who are good parents (what is good I ask). In times of war children were encouraged and in some parts of Europe the state pay parents to have children because the birth rates have fallen. We know the situation in China where there has been a one child policy" - Kathy, Bromley

"I agreed with what Stella Tidman of Essex said. I think something radical needs to be done to stop these baby manufacturing families, producing children on public funds, making tax payers to suffer unnecessarily. I think
government should limit child benefits to only 1st two children and anybody that wants to go further should continue at their own capacity. I think these will reduce the population/people abusing the grace and benefits been given to them. Most of these families are ignorant while many are not but they are  using children production to make money, even better living than people that are working. Doctors and nurses are making a lots of efforts to promote family planning all the time, but these families we are talking about meant business so they can not stop unless something radical is done" - Mercy Derinto, London

"Whilst a 'two child maximum' may be the preferred option for the future contribution to the planet, it is not the responsibility of the GP or FP nurse to dictate their views on the future sustainability of our planet or on the size of a family unit during a family planning consultation. The role of the health professional is to give advice and education regarding the options available to allow the patient to make an informed choice regarding contraception" - J Sargeant, Scotland

"It is none of our business how many people choose to have. We need to promote, as a society, responsible parenting, and make it socially unacceptable to have children you can't care for; to have children with no fathers; to have children who rely on state funding to be raised - but we should definitely not be frowning on responsible families who care for and raise however many children they want in a stable home. Unplanned pregnancies are rarely through true ignorance nowadays, but some may be a consequence of being able to rely on state funding to 'sort out' their problem pregnancies time after time. The 'two child maximum' is a sinister idea" - Stella Tidman, Essex