A significant number of advances in fertility regulation is now under development. These advances in technology represent modest gains rather than dramatic breakthroughs; they frequently involve a bioengineering input, include collaboration between public agencies and industry, and are closely related to the needs of developing countries. Such advances are the result of the existence of specialized programmes whose major objective is the development of new technology. As yet a similar specialized public mechanism to undertake the wide range of activities associated with product development and introduction of the new technology into family planning programmes does not exist. The three major phases of the contraceptive development process are defined (biomedical development, product development, and product introduction-market development) and four areas requiring greater attention identified. A product development laboratory that would accept responsibility for dosage form development, stability testing, quality control procedures, product and packaging modifications, and the production of supplies for biomedical research would increase the acceptability of existing methods and accelerate new developments. A contraceptive information service that would provide 'full disclosure' product related information to managers of family planning programmes is also needed. A patent and licensing administration for the public sector would assure that new contraceptives developed with public funds would be made widely available to family planning programmes at a reasonable cost. A contraceptive introduction planning unit that would consider the programme implications of new methods of fertility regulation and assist countries in planning for their introduction also needs to be established as part of the ongoing international research programmes or as a new mechanism. The availability of a specialized capacity to assume responsibility for public leadership in these four areas would contribute significantly to the development of new contraceptive methods tailored to the needs of developing countries and to the success of current international contraceptive research and development efforts.