Fertility intentions during the pandemic

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The COVID Pandemic could affect fertility behaviour and intentions in many ways. Restrictions on service provision may reduce access to family planning services and increase fertility in the short term. By contrast, the economic uncertainty brought about by the pandemic and its impact on mental health and well-being may reduce fertility. These various pathways have been explored in the context of high income countries such as the United States and Western Europe, but little is known about middle income countries. In this paper we asses the impact of the COVID pandemic on fertility intentions and behaviour in the Republic of Moldova, a middle income country in Eastern Europe, using the Generations and Gender Survey. This survey was conducted partially before and partially after the pandemic, allowing for detailed analysis of individual circumstances. The results indicate that the pandemic reduced contraceptive use by 40%. Conversely couples were also 41% less likely to be trying to conceive after the onset of the pandemic, although medium term fertility intentions were unchanged. Indicators therefore suggest that in the medium term fertility intentions may not be affected by the pandemic but access to family planning services and deferring attempts to conceive may change which individuals have children and when.

Tom Emery
Tom Emery
Associate Professor

My research interests include family sociology, demography and improving the empirical base of social science research generally.