Science & Tech

Examining differing reproductive desires in Gambia

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Number of children represents different things for women and men

For men in rural Gambia, more than 15 kids are desirable. That’s double the number of children that women are actually delivering. The number may seem high to people in the West, but in rural Gambia fertility for both men and women represents more than simple family size. Allan Hill, a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, addressed questions about what happens when men and women want different numbers of children in “Separate Lives, Different Interests: Male and Female Reproduction in the Gambia,” a paper published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Hill has been overseeing a research program on the fertility and reproductive health of people in rural Gambia for several years.