Within the framework of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene, addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. UN agencies claim sexual and reproductive health includes physical, as well as psychological well-being vis-a-vis sexuality.
Reproductive health implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying, healthy reproductive system and safer sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. One interpretation of this implies that men and women should be informed of and have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of birth control; also access to appropriate health care services of sexual, reproductive medicine and implementation of health education programs to stress the importance of women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth could provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.
Individuals do face inequalities in reproductive health services. Inequalities vary based on socioeconomic status, education level, age, ethnicity, religion, and resources available in their environment. It is possible for example, that low income individuals lack the resources for appropriate health services and the knowledge to know what is appropriate for maintaining reproductive health.