SP 2 Human Reproduction in Societies and Markets

Scientific Research Questions

The Project encompasses sociological, psychological and economic quantitative research on human reproduction and addresses the following key questions:

  • How do reproductive decisions, individual biographies, societies, and labor markets interrelate?
  • What are the consequences of new fertility treatments for women, parents, children, families, economies, and ethical and social norms?

The sub-project unites competencies in sociology, psychology, economics, and medicine. Its main empirical base will be a panel study in relevant groups hosted at the Data Centre; this combines standardized questions, vignette and survey experiments, biomarkers, and behavioral measures by using quasiexperiments.

Research Areas

Sociological research frames the big picture and will examine reproductive decisions about new fertility treatments and their consequences for individuals, families, and society in general.

Psychobiological research addresses the consequences of established and innovative fertility treatments for parents and their children. We will longitudinally investigate technologically assisted forms of reproduction such as (1) IVF and ICSI, and (2) social egg freezing (SEF).

Socioeconomic research will ask how the reproductive decisions of men and women are intertwined with local labor market opportunities. The relationship between fertility and labor supply has been intensely debated in various contexts. We will leverage recent advances in the genetic architecture of fertility and gender-specific shocks to education and labor market opportunities to understand how the trade-off between career and family is shaped by increasing inequality, income uncertainty, greater female representation in higher education, and the varying prices of fertility treatments. 

Empirical Projects

StART Familie – Studie zum Einfluss assistierter Reproduktionstechniken auf die Familie (The impact of assisted reproductive techniques on the family) 

Julia Jeannine Schmid & Prof. Dr. Ulrike Ehlert

The project «StART Familie» (PDF, 790 KB) aims to examine the medium-term biopsychological effects of assisted reproductive techniques on the family for a better understanding of their risks and opportunities. We are analyzing whether the use of assisted reproductive techniques affects the mental health of parents, various aspects of parenthood, and the psychosocial development of children. In addition, we would like to know more about the biological and psychological mechanisms behind it. The study participation includes filling out psychological questionnaires by the parents and collecting fingernail samples and saliva samples from the whole family at home. 

The expected duration of the project is from September 2021 to August 2024.