The pandemic seems to have seriously affected the well-being of couples, negatively influencing their desire for parenting. This is what emerges from a study published in the "Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynaecology", edited by a group of urologists and gynaecologists of the University and of the Careggi University Hospital, together with researchers from Como and Catania (“Desire of parenthood at the time of COVID-19 pandemic: an insight into the Italian situation” https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0167482X.2020.1759545). The team includes, in addition to Gianmartin Cito, Elisabetta Micelli, Andrea Cocci, Andrea Minervini, Marco Carini, Alessandro Natali and Maria Elisabetta Coccia.
Dr. Cito, what investigative tool did you use and with which reference sample?
We conducted the study through a survey, spread via chat and social networks. 1482 Italians were involved, 944 women (63.7%) and 538 men (36.3%), aged between 18 and 46 and in a stable relationship (at least one year). The investigation was conducted between 23 and 29 March.
What picture did the collected data paint?
At the time of the pandemic and during the quarantine, the desire to have children does not seem to be gaining ground, although obviously we won't have feedback until the beginning of next year. Over 80% of respondents, who did not want to have children before the advent of Coronavirus, did not change their mind with the lockdown.
What about the others?
Of the 18.1% of the participants who were planning to have a child before the pandemic, 37.3% abandoned the intention, mainly due to concerns about future economic difficulties or the possible consequences of the virus on pregnancy. Considering the ages of the interviewees, we can add that the desire for parenting is more widespread in older age groups, both before and during the pandemic.
Compared to this outlook, strongly conditioned by the global crisis, are there signs of a countertrend?
Yes, 11.5% of those who declared themselves unwilling to procreate before the pandemic, revealed the emergence of the desire for parenting during the quarantine, linked to the desire for change or the need for positivity. But only 4.3% of the latter actually attempted conception. More generally, the data reveal how much the emergency on psychological well-being weighs, a fundamental aspect for starting over. And this is not just about the birth rate, but the whole country.