Partners’ fertility intentions: a note of discord and inconsistent contraceptive use

Monika Mynarska, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University

It is a truism that reproductive behavior involves – at least in the vast majority of cases – two partners. Nonetheless, studies on fertility that involve couple’s perspective are still scarce. Available evidence shows that in case of partners’ disagreement, active steps towards conceptions cannot be taken, leading to fertility postponement. The partners seem to maintain the status quo until they reach a consensus about their childbearing plans. The current study explores this process in depth. We use qualitative data on 23 young Polish couples (semi structured interviews with male and female partners) to illustrate different patterns of partners’ disagreement and its consequences for their reproductive behavior. We show that under some circumstances a note of discord in partners’ intentions may lead to an inconsistent use of contraception and hence increase a probability of pregnancy, even though no active trying to conceive takes place.

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Presented in Session 94: Fertility decisions within unions