Does Husband-Wife Fertility Preference Matter? Couples’ Fertility Preference and Its Effect on Subsequent Male- vs. Female-Based Contraceptive Use

Inku Subedi, Brown University

This study examines how couples’ fertility desires influence women's subsequent contraceptive use and childbearing. Given that gender norms play an important role in couples’ negotiation of contraceptive use, the study attempts to understand the nuances of couples' power dynamics. It examines whether wives use a male-based vs. female-based contraceptive method when fertility desires of couple do not match. When the wife does not want children but the husband does, the woman is more likely to use female-based methods. If the husband does not want any children, the wife is more likely to use male-based method, indicating some kind of pressure to use a method within the husband’s control. This result suggests the use of subtle power-dynamics between couples during the negotiation of use of family planning method. The availability and access to female-based methods seem crucial for women who are covertly negotiating their childbearing desires.

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Presented in Session 182: Methods of Contraception: Some Interesting Trends and Differentials