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Concern that contraception affects future fertility: How common is this concern among young people and does it stop them from using contraception?

Contraception: X / November 2023


Asian female sitting alone outside

This study examines the concern that contraception affects future fertility among community college students and assesses its association with contraceptive use. The authors used baseline data from a randomized controlled trial with 2,060 community college students assigned female at birth. The authors used mixed-effects multivariate logistic regression adjusted for clustered data to assess sociodemographic factors associated with the concern that contraception affects future fertility and to test the association between this concern and contraceptive use. Most participants (69%) worried about contraception affecting their future fertility. Multivariable results indicated that first-generation college students (adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 1.24; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.01–1.55) and non-English speakers at home (aOR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.04–1.64) were more concerned. Racial and ethnic differences were significant, with Black non-Hispanic (aOR, 2.83; 95% CI, 1.70–4.70), Asian/Pacific Islander non-Hispanic (aOR, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.43–3.14), and Hispanic (aOR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.17–2.02) participants more likely to be concerned than White non-Hispanic counterparts. Participants who received contraceptive services in the past year had lower odds of future fertility concern (aOR, 0.72; 95% CI 0.59-0.88). Furthermore, participants with this concern had lower odds of using contraception (aOR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.49-0.91), especially hormonal contraception (aOR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.61-0.97). Most students feared contraception’s impact on fertility, and this fear was associated with not using contraception. Disparities in concern about contraception affecting future fertility may be tied to discrimination, reproductive coercion, and limited reproductive healthcare access. Addressing fertility concerns is crucial to person-centered contraceptive counseling.

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