Published Papers - Abstract 267

Mooney R. When is a choice not a choice? Reproductive decision-making for young women in Australia. Journal of Sociology, ; :

This paper examines the complex experiences of young women (aged 18-30 years) in finding the right time to have children as they attempt to align perceptions of ideal childbearing age and ideal childbearing circumstances. The paper draws on existing qualitative data from the Younger cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health and a series of focus group discussions with a community sample. It explores the delicate balance between a need for youthful energy in motherhood and fears of age related infertility with finding a partner and educational, career and financial goals. Findings highlight the use of reproductive technology in an attempt to achieve this balancing act, while also managing biological chance, such as unplanned pregnancies. However, participants described an ambivalent relationship with both reproductive technology and the multitude of choices facing them, fearing that motherhood could be continually delayed in an attempt to find the right time.