Professor John Guillebaud

Professor John GuillebaudJohn Guillebaud is Emeritus Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health at University College London (personal Chair since 1992, the world’s first in this specialty).

Professor Guillebaud (a Huguenot name pronounced in two syllables as ‘Gil-boe’) is also the former medical director of Margaret Pyke Centre for Study and Training in Family Planning.

He was born at Buye, Burundi, brought up in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, was a medical officer in the RS/RGS Xavantina-Cachimbo expedition to Mato Grosso in 1967-69, and has made regular training and support visits for healthcare professions in South America and Africa (Central and South).

As well as procedures for women, he has performed approximately 5,000 vasectomies – latterly by the improved ‘No-scalpel’ technique – and he is involved in studies of a promising non-hormonal male pill that leads to a semen-free but normal-feeling orgasm, potentially reducing male-to-female HIV transmission.

See Professor Guillebaud speak on Friday afternoon: ‘How to miss out periods and have more margin for error when missing out pills!’

He is author/co-author of more than 300 publications on environmental sustainability, reproductive health and population, contraception for women and for men, and of nine books that are available in 10 languages including Bulgarian, Malay and Japanese. Recently updated editions are available of Contraception: Your Questions Answered, Contraception Today, the Oxford Handbook of Reproductive Medicine and Family Planning, and Contraception: a Casebook from Menarche to Menopause.

He also consults ad hoc, as requested, both internationally (WHO and the Department for International Development) and nationally (advising on guidance documents of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health).

His choice of contraception for both genders as his specialty – leading to higher degrees in both surgery and gynaecology – was made while he was still a medical student, prompted by a lecture from the biologist Dr Colin Bertram. Since then, his vision has been that humankind’s collective environmental footprint is exacerbated by the number of feet, ie the number of humans doing the consuming and polluting, on our uniquely life-supporting but finite planet. This factor, one of only three, in humanity’s environmental impact can and must be addressed, always wisely and compassionately, taking account of numerous taboos, through voluntary rights-based family planning made accessible to all.

Along with Sir David Attenborough he is a patron of and adviser to, and his TED lecture ‘Sex and the Planet’ and more can be viewed at These days John spends an increasing amount of time with his young grandchildren who live next door, and indulges his lifetime enthusiasm for cycling, for its fun and its convenience (and zero emissions).

Find out more about the plenary speakers at the RCGP Annual Conference:

Sir Tim Smit

Professor Amanda Howe

Professor Jako Burgers