What is the internationally acknowledged concept of reproductive health?

Reproductive health is a new concept, recently raised internationally. According to the definition of the Plan of Action passed during the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt, in September 1994, reproductive health addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. Reproductive health, therefore, implies:

(1) that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life;

(2) that they have the capability to reproduce;

(3) they have the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so;

(4) the right of men and women to be informed of and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of fertility regulation of their choice;

(5) the right of access to appropriate health care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth; and

(6) provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.

From the definition and main content of reproductive health, it is obvious that reproductive health is not only a biomedical concept; it broadens its scope to social science too. The concept of reproductive health is based on the equality between men and women. Human health, especially a woman’s right, is central to reproductive health. A reproductive health service is a means to achieving reproductive health. It is characterized by its emphasis on the demands, participation, choice and responsibility of all those concerned.