Fertility and assisted reproduction from the perspective of migrant women in Germany

Sonja Haug, Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg (OTH)
Matthias Vernim, Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg (OTH)

The rising age of first-birth in industrialized countries is associated with rising infertility. Consequently, the demand for reproductive medical aid and the use of assisted reproduction in Germany is growing. The population’s acceptance of reproductive medicine is high, although few have correct knowledge about procedures or success rates. The project NeWiRe is focused on migrant women and their knowledge on and attitude towards reproductive health. The influence of social, cultural or religious factors towards the acceptance of assisted reproduction is examined. Data source is a nationwide telephone survey of women of Polish, Turkish, ex-Yugoslav, ex-Soviet and German descent between the ages of 18 and 50 years (N = 1.001). The results illustrate the importance of having children of their own for the self-perception of migrants. Compared to German women, the foreign origin groups show higher fertility, and children are mostly regarded as essential for a fulfilling life. A relatively high proportion (up to 9%) has already had reproductive medical treatment. The relatively strong acceptance of reproductive medicine is influenced by cultural or religious differences. For Muslim respondents, family planning is heavily influenced by religion, while Catholic and Protestant women show a wide range of opinions. Migrant women assess their knowledge of reproductive medicine as comparatively low. The knowledge about fertility issues and the procedures of assisted reproduction, as well as the number of people one can talk to about issues like fertility and reproductive medicine increases with higher levels of education. Starting from an extension of the theory of planned behavior, a multivariate analysis on the intention and use of reproductive medical procedures for infertility controlled by social norms (traditional family image, religious rules of behavior in family planning) and knowledge or education is conducted.

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Presented in Session 72: Biology, technology, genetics and fertility