Survey of Reproduction Needs and Services: Situation of Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries


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13 pp

Purpose: This article explores the reproductive wants and needs of persons with spinal cord injuries (SCI), along with factors that influence these needs and the services available to them.


Method: The study sample comprised persons with SCI from China Rehabilitation Research Centre who matched the research criteria and consented to participate. Data collection took place through questionnaires and in-depth interviews. After the objectives, contents and methods of the survey were explained, 63 respondents answered the questionnaire, and 17 of them (15 men and 2 women) agreed to participate in the in-depth interviews. All the respondents were above 18 years of age, either unmarried or married, and childless.


Results: It was found that 85.7% of the respondents wished to have children. The more severe the SCI, the less was the desire for children. Those with higher levels of education were less inclined to have children. While financial situation had little impact on the wish for children, the impact of traditional concepts was significant. The reproductive experiences of other SCI clients had a significant influence on respondents’ desire to have children. More than 50% of the respondents were ignorant that they could have babies after SCI. 96.8% of them believed that a child played an important role in marital stability. Though 54% of the respondents wished to have their sexual and fertility problems addressed in medical and rehabilitation institutions, 93.7% said they had not received any such professional services during the previous year.


Conclusions: Although most persons with spinal cord injuries are very keen to have children, their wants and needs are not recognised and little attention is paid to specialized service provision to address their needs. This study suggests that steps such as improving awareness, disseminating knowledge and setting up institutions to provide professional services are necessary to address reproductive needs and to protect the reproductive rights of persons with SCI.

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