Comparative Population Studies (Jan 2018)
Women’s Attitudes toward Assisted Reproductive Technologies – A Pilot Study among Migrant Minorities and Non-migrants in Germany
This study examines attitudes toward assisted reproductive technologies (ART) among immigrant women and non-migrants in Germany. The social relevance of ART is increasing in Western countries due to overall low birth rates, a high rate of childlessness, and a gap between the desired and the actual numbers of children. Previous literature has been scarce, however, on attitudes toward ART, and immigrant minorities have rarely been included in studies on ART. Our working hypotheses are drawn from theoretical considerations on political socialisation and cultural integration. The analysis is based on data collected in a pilot study in 2014 and 2015. The sample includes 960 women aged 18 to 50 living in Germany. About 81 percent of the sample are immigrants who originate from Turkey, Poland, the Balkan countries, or countries of the (Russian) Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). We study the social norm to use ART to have a child, the personal attitude of whether a woman would use ART herself, and the methods that they would consider for their own use. Our results show that ART is overall socially acceptable, and the majority of women said that they would use it if necessary. There is significant variation between the origin groups, however. Non-migrants show the lowest acceptance rates and migrants from Poland and Turkey the highest approval. There is also variation in the ART procedures considered for use with the migrants more approving of heterologous methods than non-migrants. The differences between the origin groups diminish only partly when controlling for further explanatory variables, i.e. gender-role attitudes, religiosity, and socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents. We conclude that attitudes toward ART are shaped less by socio-demographic characteristics, but rather by cultural factors and the socialization in the migrants’ countries of origin. The diversity in attitudes toward ART by cultural background should be acknowledged in research and public discourses on ART as well as in regulating policies. * This article belongs to a special issue on migrant fertility.