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Do South Koreans use birth control?


South Korea is a country known for its technological advancement, pop culture and tourist destinations. However, not much is known about the country’s reproductive health practices. This article aims to delve into the question: do South Koreans use birth control?

The Status of Reproductive Health in South Korea

The Republic of Korea (ROK) has a comprehensive reproductive health policy that includes family planning, maternal and newborn health, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention and management. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the country has a low maternal mortality rate and high contraceptive prevalence rate, indicating that the government’s efforts are bearing fruit.

Types of Birth Control Used in South Korea

South Koreans have access to a wide range of contraceptives, including condoms, oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and emergency contraception. The government provides free or subsidized contraception to low-income individuals, and many private healthcare providers also offer family planning services.

Religious and Cultural Influences on Contraceptive Use

Religion plays a significant role in shaping attitudes towards birth control in South Korea. While Buddhism does not have a stance on contraception, Christianity is opposed to it, considering it a form of abortion. Confucianism, which emphasizes filial piety and family continuity, encourages having many children. These beliefs may influence individuals’ decisions on whether or not to use birth control.

The Role of Education in Contraceptive Use

Education plays an important role in increasing contraceptive use and reducing unintended pregnancies. South Korea has a high literacy rate and rigorous education system, which may contribute to higher contraceptive knowledge and usage rates. Sexual education is offered in schools, but it is not mandatory and can vary in quality depending on the school.

Barriers to Contraceptive Use in South Korea

Despite the government’s efforts to promote the use of birth control, there are still barriers that prevent people from accessing it. One issue is the stigma surrounding sexual activity and contraception. Some individuals may feel embarrassed or ashamed to seek out family planning services. Additionally, there are concerns about the safety and side effects of certain contraceptives.

Abortion Laws in South Korea

Abortion is illegal in South Korea, with exceptions made for cases involving rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities. The country has some of the strictest abortion laws in the world, and those who undergo the procedure can face heavy fines and imprisonment. These laws may influence individuals’ decisions to use birth control as a means of preventing unintended pregnancies.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Contraceptive Use

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on access to healthcare services worldwide. South Korea was no exception, with many clinics and hospitals scaling back services or closing altogether. This disruption may have affected individuals’ ability to obtain contraception and other family planning services.

Changing Attitudes Towards Birth Control

As South Korea becomes more modernized, attitudes towards birth control may be shifting. A 2018 survey found that more than half of respondents believed that birth control was necessary for women’s health and well-being. Additionally, younger generations may be more open to discussing sexuality and family planning than their predecessors.

Comparing Contraceptive Use in South Korea to Other Countries

South Korea’s contraceptive prevalence rate is higher than the global average but lower than that of some Western countries such as the United States and France. However, it is similar to rates seen in other East Asian countries such as Japan and Taiwan.

The Future of Reproductive Health in South Korea

The South Korean government has made significant strides in promoting reproductive health, but there is still work to be done. Improving access to family planning services and increasing education on contraception could help reduce unintended pregnancies and improve maternal and newborn health outcomes.


In conclusion, South Koreans do use birth control, and the country has a comprehensive reproductive health policy that includes family planning services. However, cultural and religious beliefs, as well as barriers to accessing healthcare, may affect contraceptive use. As attitudes towards sexuality and family planning evolve, it remains to be seen how reproductive health practices will change in South Korea.

Is birth control common in South Korea?

Although contraception is highly effective and easy to use, the adoption rate of oral contraceptives remains low in the Republic of Korea as of August 31, 2021.

Do they have birth control pills in Korea?

If you are new to Korea, you may not know where to purchase birth control pills without a prescription and which brand to choose. However, these pills are readily available in all Korean pharmacies, also known as 약국 (yak-guk).

What is the most popular birth control in South Korea?

In certain areas of Asia, female sterilisation (99.5% effective) is no longer the most popular method of birth control. Instead, IUDs (99.2% to 99.98% effective) are the top method in China; male condoms (82% effective) reign in Korea; and oral contraceptives – also known as “the pill” – take the top spot in Thailand.

Do South Koreans use condoms?

Condoms are widely recognized as an effective, affordable, and readily available method of preventing sexually transmitted infections and HIV. However, studies have shown that condom usage among young people in South Korea is very low, with approximately 50-80% of emerging adults choosing not to use them during sexual activity. This indicates a need for increased education and awareness about safe sex practices.

Is it hard for Koreans to get pregnant?

South Korea has the lowest fertility rate globally, and marriage and children are heavily intertwined. Only 2.5% of children were born outside of marriage in 2020, while the OECD average was over 40%.

Is it common to get pregnant before marriage in Korea?

In South Korea, premarital pregnancy has become more prevalent according to a study conducted in 2018, which found that the number of such pregnancies increased by 2.5 times between 1990 and 2016. Although most couples face minimal legal consequences as long as they marry, this trend is not as progressive as it may seem.

One area that South Korea may want to focus on is increasing access to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as IUDs and implants. These methods are highly effective and have a lower failure rate compared to other types of contraception. However, they may not be as widely available or affordable as other methods.

Another issue that South Korea may need to address is the gender gap in contraceptive use. While women are often the ones who bear the burden of unintended pregnancies, men can also play a role in preventing them. However, research has shown that men in South Korea may be less likely to use condoms or other forms of contraception than women. Addressing this gap could help reduce unintended pregnancies and improve reproductive health outcomes for both men and women.

Finally, it is worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of telehealth and other remote healthcare services. These technologies could be particularly useful for individuals seeking family planning services, especially those living in rural or remote areas. By using telehealth, patients can consult with healthcare providers and receive prescriptions for contraception without having to travel long distances or risk exposure to COVID-19. Encouraging the use of telehealth could be an important step towards ensuring that all South Koreans have access to the reproductive healthcare they need.

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