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The Impact of COVID-19 on Fertility Behaviour and Intentions in the Republic of Moldova

Tom Emery, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Judith C. Koops, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute

The COVID-19 pandemic could affect fertility behaviour and intentions in many ways. Restrictions on service provision may reduce access to family planning services and increase fertility in the short term. By contrast, the economic uncertainty brought about by the pandemic and its impact on mental health and wellbeing may reduce fertility. These various pathways have been explored in the context of high income countries, but little is known about middle income countries. In this paper we assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family planning behaviour and fertility intentions in the Republic of Moldova, a middle income country in Eastern Europe. Data of the Generations and Gender Survey is used, which was conducted partially before and partially after the pandemic. First results indicate that couples were less likely to be trying to conceive after the onset of the pandemic, although medium term fertility intentions were unchanged. This suggests a possible delay in births rather than a permanent decline in the birth rate. In addition, contraceptive use reduced while sexual activity remained unchanged. Therefore, unplanned pregnancies and births may increase as a consequence of the pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19, Family planning and contraception, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Inequality

See paper.

  Presented in Session 188. Impact of Covid-19 on Contraceptive Behaviour