Services to Help Achieve Pregnancy Differ by Clinics’ Title X Status, Study Finds

WASHINGTON, DC (Nov. 25, 2019) — The types of services that publicly funded family planning clinics offer to help clients achieve pregnancy differ according to whether clinics receive funding through the Title X family planning program, found a study selected as the Editor’s Choice for the November/December issue of Women’s Health Issues

Women’s Health Issues is the official journal of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, which is based in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University.

Ana Carolina Loyola Briceno, formerly of the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) at the US Department of Health and Human Services, and her colleagues analyzed survey responses from 1,615 publicly funded clinics that provide family planning services to see which services they offered to help clients achieve pregnancy. They found that although Title X clinics were less likely than their non-Title-X-funded counterparts to offer infertility treatment, they were more likely to offer reproductive life plan assessment, screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and body mass index (BMI) screening and preconception health care for men. (The authors did not find significant differences in BMI screening and preconception health care for women between clinics that did and did not receive Title X funding.)

The authors note that they collected their data in 2013-2014, before the publication of Providing Quality Family Planning Services: Recommendations of CDC and the US Office of Population Affairs (known as the QFP). Their study can therefore serve as a baseline to help determine whether clinics began offering additional services—such as reproductive life plan assessments and screening for conditions like STDs and obesity that can impede fertility—after the QFP’s release. “Offering these services at all publicly funded family planning clinics can help people to achieve their desired number and spacing of children, and lead to improved health outcomes,” Loyola Briceno and her co-authors conclude.

“The Title X program plays an essential role in assuring that all people can achieve the families they want, regardless of income,” said Amita Vyas, Editor-in-Chief of Women's Health Issues and Associate Professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute SPH. “This study addresses an important element that policymakers sometimes overlook: the fact that family planning includes not just preventing unwanted pregnancy, but achieving pregnancy when desired.”

Availability of Services Related to Achieving Pregnancy in U.S. Publicly Funded Family Planning Clinics” has been published in the November/December issue of Women’s Health Issues.