Many countries around the world have voluntary reproductive health care organizations which may be explicitly named Planned Parenthood (e.g. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada, Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa), or may have some other name (e.g. Family Planning Association of India, Latvian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Vaestoliitto: Family Federation of Finland).
These autonomous reproductive health care associations first became linked in 1952, when the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) was founded as a resolution of an international conference on reproductive health care in Bombay, India, and the first members were the national planned parenthood associations of India, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, the UK, and the US. Japan, which did not yet have a national planned parenthood organization, was at first an associate member, but later became a full member, as did more and more national associations each year. American birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger was president of the IPPF until 1959, and after her resignation was given the titles founder and president emeritus of the IPPF.
All member associations of the IPPF believe that women and men should enjoy the highest possible level of sexual and reproductive health, and define health not as the absence of disease or injury, but rather as "a state of positive well-being". The member associations are committed to promoting women's and men's ability to decide for themselves how many children they would like and when they would like to have them, and understand that taking affirmative action for the empowerment of women is a necessary step in reaching that goal. They believe that world population should be in balance with available natural resources, that unsafe abortion should be eliminated, and that young people should have an understanding of sexuality and access to the services they demand. Although they believe in population control, they emphasize offering users choice in how, and whether, they want to regulate their fertility, rather than the coercive imposition of contraceptive methods. They support sexuality education for the young, and individual counselling on sexual and reproductive health for all.
Today IPPF has grown to include 180 members worldwide and has consultative status at the United Nations, working with other inter-governmental and UN agencies on reproductive health, women's health and well-being, and the role of population in socio-economic development. It is a registered charity headquartered in the United Kingdom and the largest voluntary organization in the world concerned with contraception and sexual and reproductive health.