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Covid hasn't changed family planning all that much

Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began last year, many have predicted either a baby boom or a baby bust. A year later, those predictions aren't so easy to determine, but women who want to expand their families are still moving ahead with their plans, according to a recent survey.

That may be somewhat surprising, given the multitude of challenges beset by the pandemic at home, plus a large number of women losing employment and many families putting healthcare on hold to avoid added exposure to the virus. Evernorth, a subset of health insurance giant Cigna, wanted to know more about family planning trends during the pandemic.

Among women with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, 60% said they are not changing their family planning and 20% of those surveyed who were between 35 and 45 said they wanted to have more children than they did prior to the pandemic.

"Despite facing extraordinary challenges, the majority of women we surveyed are not changing their plans to grow their families, and in fact, up to 25 percent are accelerating their plans,” said Kajaal Patel, R.Ph, director of product management for Freedom Fertility Pharmacy, a part of Evernorth.

The survey also found that 38% % reported an increase in sexual activity and a 10% decrease in birth control use. Half of women who take fertility treatments in the survey also said they started their treatments during the pandemic, while 75% of women who stopped treatments during the pandemic said they have already restarted or plan to restart within one year.

The desire to expand families may stem from the changes to home and work life during the pandemic, as more than half of women with this desire cited the recognition of the importance of family, while 42% said they have more time and flexibility at home. Of those who did not want to expand their families in the survey, a whopping 80% said practical or financial factors were the primary reason.

The survey, which queried 2,000 women 25 to 45, was limited in that it only included employer-sponsored healthcare respondents. The pandemic has been particularly bad for women in the workplace, with all 140,000 job losses reported in December 2020 attributed to women. Throughout the pandemic, women have lost more jobs than men, resulting in loss of health insurance coverage for many.

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