Not What You’re Expecting: New Report Reveals the Impact of Unintended Pregnancies in Australia

Save Print

September 27, 2022 9:00 pm EDT

Findings show almost half (40%) of all pregnancies in Australia are unintended, highlighting the need to address this public health challenge.1

AUSTRALIA, 28 September 2022 – New findings from ‘The Impact of Unintended Pregnancy’ report launched today by women’s healthcare company, Organon, reveal the broad social and economic impacts of unintended pregnancy in Australia.1 An astounding $7.2 billion of direct and indirect costs were  incurred in 2020 as a consequence of unintended pregnancies, putting significant financial pressure on individuals, their families, communities and our economy.1

The report shows women living in rural areas are 1.4 times more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy than women living in a metro setting.1 This is primarily attributed to geographic isolation and lack of access to contraception and abortion services.1 Prevalence of unintended pregnancy is also disproportionately higher amongst First Nations women, and those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.1

The report also reveals, that 40% of all pregnancies in Australia are unintended, with 197,234 occurrences recorded in 2020 alone.1 An unintended pregnancy is categorised as either mistimed (pregnancy occurs earlier or later than desired) or unwanted (pregnancy occurs when no or no more children are desired).1 It can result in the raising of the child (52%), termination (31%) or adoption (1%).1

Professor Danielle Mazza, Director of SPHERE, Centre of Research Excellence in Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Primary Care, said: “Unintended pregnancy can happen at any stage of life. It is often misunderstood and stigmatised, and certainly not discussed openly. Most people think unintended pregnancy only impacts the woman or couple alone. However, it is a critical public health challenge that has a huge impact on society and imposes significant financial and social costs. We need to address unintended pregnancy by ensuring women have access to the right information to make informed decisions about contraception and pregnancy.”

In Australia, the average cost of an unintended pregnancy is $36,384 (each time).1 This totals $7.2 billion in 2020, a cost carried by Government (37%), women (56%), carers (5%) and employers (3%).1 Within the report, direct costs include expenses incurred due to miscarriages ($15 million), stillbirths ($21 million), abortions ($72 million), and live births ($2.0 billion) up to 12 months post-pregnancy.1 Indirect costs include non-healthcare related expenses such as lost wages and income and government parenting support payments.1

Earlier research has found that 73% of women who experience an unplanned pregnancy were using contraception, with the oral contraceptive pill the most frequently cited (39%).2 This highlights the importance of assessing the suitability of contraceptive methods to a person’s own needs.3

Further, although international evidence demonstrates that effective contraception, such as long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), can reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy, awareness of LARC options in Australia remains low in comparison to other countries.4,5,6 To address this barrier, women need to be supported to make informed decisions about contraception priorities, preferences which work for their lifestyle, and the need for a national sexual and reproductive health strategy.1

Nirelle Tolstoshev, Managing Director of Organon ANZ, said: “At Organon, we are united in our drive to better support the health of women. Through the launch of this report, we aim to progress discussions around unintended pregnancy in Australia. We know more needs to be done to address better health understanding and education in reproductive health and contraception to support women’s empowerment and reduce the impact of unintended pregnancy.”

For further information about the report, visit:


Media Contacts

Meshlin Khouri
0447 279 553
Claire Davies
WE Communications
0402 188 054

Issued by WE Communications on behalf of Organon Australia Ltd.

Notes to Editors

About ‘The Impact of Unintended Pregnancy’ Report

To develop this report, key opinion leaders and experts in the space of reproductive health and choices were involved to inform the selection of the most appropriate data sources and the chosen methodological approach.

This report was commissioned and paid for by Organon, a healthcare company and prepared by HTANALYSTS. Organon provided input in relation to the report and its outcomes. The information for this report was sourced from published literature using publicly available data. Where information has been obtained from third-party sources, this is referenced. All costs are reported in Australian dollars.

About Organon

Organon (NYSE: OGN) is a global healthcare company formed through a spin-off from Merck& Co., Rahway, NJ, USA (NYSE: MRK) known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, focused on improving the health of women throughout their lives. Here for her health, the company has a portfolio of more than 60 medicines and products across a range of therapeutic areas. Led by the reproductive health portfolio coupled with an expanding biosimilars business and stable franchise of established medicines, Organon’s products produce strong cash flows that will support investments in future growth opportunities in women’s health. In addition, Organon is pursuing opportunities to collaborate with biopharmaceutical innovators looking to commercialize their products by leveraging its scale and presence in fast growing international markets.

Organon has a global footprint with significant scale and geographic reach, world-class commercial capabilities, and approximately 9,000 employees with headquarters located in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA.

For more information, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn. 


[1] Organon and HTAnalysts. Impact of Unintended Pregnancy. 2022. Available at: Accessed August 2022.

[2] Coombe, J. et al. Contraceptive use at the time of unintended pregnancy: Findings from the Contraceptive Use, Pregnancy Intention and Decisions study. Australian Family Physician; 2016; 45(11):842-48. 

[3] Taft A, Shankar M, Black K, Maza D, Hussainy S, Lucke J. Unintended and unwanted pregnancy in Australia: a cross-sectional, national random telephone survey of prevalence and outcomes. MJA. 2018;209(9):407-8.

[4] Winner et al. Effectiveness of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. N Engl J Med 2012; 366:1998-2007. Available at:,which%20rival%20those%20with%20sterilization.

[5] Mazza D, Bateson D, Frearson M, Goldstone P, Kovacs G, Baber R. Current barriers and potential strategies to increase the use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) to reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies in Australia: An expert roundtable discussion. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2017;57(2):206-12.

[6]Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association. Consensus statement. 2017. [cited Available from: