Factors and processes shaping contraceptive choice: a study in West Bengal, India

Sharmishtha Basu, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

This paper tries to examine the factors and processes determining contraceptive choice in the state of West Bengal, India, which has the highest prevalence of traditional method (NFHS-III, 2005-’06) combined with high female sterilization. The study is based on the researcher’s fieldwork that includes interviews of 480 married women of reproductive age (15-49 years) from urban and rural settings combined with qualitative methods (36 Focus Group Discussions) for understanding women’s perception on method choice and the transition from male to female method. Service providers were also interviewed to understand provider bias and also their perception on women’s preferences. In urban areas switch from modern method to withdrawal takes place due to husbands’ education, tendency to take decisions himself and problem of side-effects. Preference for oral pills varies by socio-economic background and the reasons for preference differ across classes. Besides, in a context of patriarchy, many women choose female sterilization.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Reproductive health, HIV-AIDS, poverty and gender