Attitudes toward parenthood and awareness of fertility among postgraduate students in Sweden
2006 (English)In: Gender Medicine, ISSN 1550-8579, Vol. 3, no 3, 187-195 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Postponing childbirth is becoming increasingly common in Western countries, especially among women with higher education.
The aim of the present study was to investigate female and male postgraduate students' attitudes toward parenthood, their intentions to have children, perceived obstacles to having or raising children during postgraduate studies, and their awareness of fertility issues.
A 52-question survey was mailed to randomly selected postgraduate students attending a Swedish university. The questionnaire was developed based on earlier research by, and the professional experience of, the authors. Three pilot studies were conducted to test the questionnaire's reliability and validity. The t, x2, and Mann-Whitney U tests were used, as appropriate, to analyze responses. RESULTS: Two hundred female and 200 male postgraduate students aged<or=40 years received questionnaires. The response rate was 71% (n=141) among women and 58% (n=116) among men. Most childless respondents had positive attitudes toward parenthood and wanted to have 2 or 3 children, and a majority of women wanted to have their last child after age 35. Compared with men, women were more pessimistic about the effects of parenthood on their postgraduate studies, and perceived more problems related to balancing work and family life. One of 4 respondents overestimated a woman's ability to become pregnant between 35 and 40 years of age, and about half had overly optimistic perceptions of the chances to have a baby by means of in vitro fertilization.
Most postgraduate students wanted to have children in the future. More women than men perceived that having children while completing postgraduate studies was or would be difficult, and that parenthood would negatively affect their status in the labor market. Because many female postgraduate students intend to have children at an age when female fecundity is decreased, information on fertility issues would help them make informed decisions regarding family planning.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 3, no 3, 187-195 p.
Attitudes, fertility, parenting, universities
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-18050DOI: 10.1016/S1550-8579(06)80207-XPubMedID: 17081952OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-18050DiVA: diva2:45821