Desired Numbers of Children, Fertility Preferences and
Related Factors among Couples Who Referred to
Pre-Marriage Counseling in Alborz Province, Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran has experienced a dramatic decrease in fertility rates in the past three decades. One of the main issues in the field of fertility is the couple’s preferences and the desire to bear children. This study aimed to determine desired number of children, fertility preference, and related factors among people referring pre-marriage counseling to clarify their presumed behavior in case of fertility.
Materials and Methods
This study was a descriptive analytic cross-sectional survey, conducted during 8 months. The participants were 300 couples came to pre-marriage counseling centers of two health centers of Karaj and asked to complete a 22 items questionnaire about of demographic characteristics, participants’ interest, preference about fertility, and economic situation.
Majority of the males were between the ages of 20-30 years (66.6%) while majority of the females were below 25 years of age (57%). About 17 percent of men and 22.3 percent of women stated that they want to have 1 child and equally 52.7 percent of men and 52.7 percent of women wanted to have 2 children. The only factor that contributed to the female participant’s decision for a desirable number of children was the number of siblings that they have. In male participants with an increasing age at marriage and aspiration for higher educational level, the time interval between marriage and the birth of the first child has increased. There was a convergence in desired number of children in male and female participants.
Majority of the participants express their desire to have only one or two children in future but in considering the fact that what one desires does not always come into reality, the risk of reduced fertility is generally present in the community. Appropriate policies should be implemented in order to create a favorable environment for children.