Influence of gender preference and sex composition of surviving children on childbearing intention among high fertility married women in stable union in Malawi
Background: Child’s gender preference (GP) frequently leads to high fertility which has adverse effect on family health. The link between women’s fertility intention, GP and Living Children’s Sex Composition (LCSC) as found in this study is less explored in Malawi.
Objectives: We examined the relationship between GP, LCSC and fertility intention.
Methods: This study utilized 2010 MDHS dataset and focused on married women aged 15-49 years (n=1739) in stable unions who currently have at least 5 living children. Data was analyzed at bivariate and multivariate levels (α=0.05).
Results: About 39.7% of the women have GP and higher proportion (23.3%) has preference for females. Age, region, wealth-quintile, religion, residence and family planning programmes were significantly associated with fertility intention. Women who have GP and same LCSC were 1.35 and 2.4 times significantly more likely to have intention to bear more children than those who have no GP and different sexes composition respectively. These odd ratios changed to 1.38 for GP and 2.44 for LCSC after adjusting for other socio-demographic variables.
Conclusions: We find that GP and LCSC significantly influence women’s intention to bear more children. Women should stop childbearing after attaining their desired number irrespective of the LCSC.
Keywords: Fertility intention, Gender preference, Children sex composition, High fertility married women
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