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The consequences of male seasonal migration for women left behind: the case of rural Armenia

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Despite the extensive research on the consequences of migration, little is known about the effects of seasonal migration on fertility, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases in the countries of former

Despite the extensive research on the consequences of migration, little is known about the effects of seasonal migration on fertility, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases in the countries of former Soviet Union, that have undergone vast demographic changes in the last two decades. Using cross-sectional data from two surveys conducted in Armenia in 2005 and 2007, this dissertation is exploring the effects of seasonal migration on reproductive behavior and outcomes, as well as sexual health among women left-behind. The dissertation is constructed of three independent studies that combined draw the broad picture of the consequences of seasonal migration in this part of the world. The first study, "Seasonal migration and fertility in low-fertility areas of origin" looks at the effect of seasonal migration on yearly pregnancy rates, lifetime fertility, and fertility preferences among women and their husbands. The models are fitted using discrete-time logistic regression, and random-intercept logistic regression for negative binomial and binary outcomes, correspondingly. The findings show that seasonal migration in low-fertility settings does not further disrupt fertility levels in a short-, or long-run, contradicting to the findings from high-fertility settings. However, the study provides some evidence that seasonal migration is associated with increased fertility preferences among migrant men. The second study, "Seasonal migration and contraception among women left-behind", examines the associations between migration and modern contraceptive use, by looking at current contraceptive use and the history of abortions. A series of random-intercept logistic regression models reveal that women with migrant partners are significantly less likely to use modern contraceptives, than women married to non-migrants. They also have higher rates of abortions; however this effect is moderated by the socioeconomic status of the household. The third study, "Seasonal migration and risks of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among women left-behind", looks at the effects of seasonal migration on the diagnosed STDs in the last three years, and self reported STD-like symptoms in the last twelve months. The results of random-intercept logistic regression for negative binomial and binary outcomes provide strong evidence of increased STD risks among migrants' wives; however, this effect is also moderated by the household income.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Comprehensive Analysis of Volatile Biomarkers for Female Fertility

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One out of ten women has a difficult time getting or staying pregnant in the United States. Recent studies have identified aging as one of the key factors attributed to

One out of ten women has a difficult time getting or staying pregnant in the United States. Recent studies have identified aging as one of the key factors attributed to a decline in female reproductive health. Existing fertility diagnostic methods do not allow for the non-invasive monitoring of hormone levels across time. In recent years, olfactory sensing has emerged as a promising diagnostic tool for its potential for real-time, non-invasive monitoring. This technology has been proven promising in the areas of oncology, diabetes, and neurological disorders. Little work, however, has addressed the use of olfactory sensing with respect to female fertility. In this work, we perform a study on ten healthy female subjects to determine the volatile signature in biological samples across 28 days, correlating to fertility hormones. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in the air above the biological sample, or headspace, were collected by solid phase microextraction (SPME), using a 50/30 µm divinylbenzene/carboxen/polydimethylsiloxane (DVB/CAR/PDMS) coated fiber. Samples were analyzed, using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOFMS). A regression model was used to identify key analytes, corresponding to the fertility hormones estrogen and progesterone. Results indicate shifts in volatile signatures in biological samples across the 28 days, relevant to hormonal changes. Further work includes evaluating metabolic changes in volatile hormone expression as an early indicator of declining fertility, so women may one day be able to monitor their reproductive health in real-time as they age.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Convergence towards diversity?: cohort analysis of fertility and family formation in South Korea

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This dissertation explores changes in fertility and family formation in South Korea, a setting in which rapid demographic changes have taken place since the early twentieth century. Despite active debate

This dissertation explores changes in fertility and family formation in South Korea, a setting in which rapid demographic changes have taken place since the early twentieth century. Despite active debate and discussion among experts and policymakers, knowledge is still limited in regards to the country’s significant demographic changes. I take advantage of Korean census samples data from 1966 to 2010, which span birth cohorts from pre- and early-transitional stages to post-transitional stages, which comprise the entry stage of the second demographic transition. From a cohort perspective, I use diverse demographic methods to analyze three different aspects of fertility and family formation—fertility differentials, marriage delay, and fertility concentration.

The findings illustrate how fertility and marriage patterns have changed over generations and range from a politically tumultuous period, which includes World War II, liberation, and the Korean War, to an advanced economic period. By and large, the three studies suggest that until 1960, fertility and family formation converged as per social norms and leadership guidelines. Then, marriage and childbearing behaviors began to diversify and variation by social groups increased for cohorts born during and after the 1960s. The phrase “convergence towards diversity” captures the reversal of demographic trends within the country. Taken together, this dissertation advances our understanding of how fertility and family formation have changed in South Korea, which has been on an intense demographic journey from pre-transitional fertility through very low fertility, and currently headed toward another destination.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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The Pursuit of Parenthood: Expanding Horizons of Reproductive Physiology and Assisted Reproductive Technologies

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The desire to start a family is something millions of people around the globe strive to achieve. However, many factors such as the societal changes in family planning due to

The desire to start a family is something millions of people around the globe strive to achieve. However, many factors such as the societal changes in family planning due to increasing maternal age, use of birth control, and ever-changing lifestyles have increased the number of infertility cases seen in the United States each year. Infertility can manifest as a prolonged inability to conceive, or inability to carry a pregnancy full-term. Modern advancements in the field of reproductive medicine have begun to promote the use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to circumvent reduced fertility in both men and women. Implementation of techniques such as In Vitro Fertilization, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, and Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing have allowed many couples to conceive. There is continual effort being made towards developing more effective and personalized fertility treatments. This often begins in the form of animal research—a fundamental step in biomedical research. This dissertation examines infertility as a medical condition through the characterization of normal reproductive anatomy and physiology in the introductory overview of reproduction. Specific pathologies of male and female-factor infertility are described, which necessitates the use of ARTs. The various forms of ARTs currently utilized in a clinical setting are addressed including history, preparations, and protocols for each technology. To promote continual advancement of the field, both animal studies and human trials provide fundamental stepping-stones towards the execution of new techniques and protocols. Examples of research conducted for the betterment of human reproductive medicine are explored, including an animal study conducted in mice exploring the role of tyramine in ovulation. With the development and implementation of new technologies and protocols in the field, this also unearths ethical dilemmas that further complicate the addition of new technologies in the field. Combining an extensive review in assisted reproduction, research and clinical fieldwork, this study investigates the history and development of novel research conducted in reproductive medicine and explores the broader implications of new technologies in the field.

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Date Created
  • 2021

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Essays on Family Economics

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The presence of children can influence importantly how households respond to income risk. The aim of this dissertation is to study how different aspects of families' life-cycle decisions are affected

The presence of children can influence importantly how households respond to income risk. The aim of this dissertation is to study how different aspects of families' life-cycle decisions are affected by different sources of income fluctuation. In the first part of this dissertation, I study the relationships between fertility choices, consumption, and labor supply, by developing a model with endogenous fertility decisions and income volatility. Within this framework, fertility choices act as a mechanism to smooth utility over time. In this context, I analyze the insurance value of fertility choices. I use a structural model that combines two features underexplored by the literature: children as consumption commitments, and nonseparabilities of family size and consumption. Having children in the household affects consumption and labor marginal utilities, changing the insurance value of fertility decisions and generating incentives to avoid childbearing during low-income spells. I find that the welfare loss of a negative transitory income shock is 34 to 38 times larger if households are not able to choose when to have their children. These results underscore how costly unplanned childbearing can be to the household in terms of welfare.The second part of this dissertation evaluates the impact of being born under negative conditions in the labor market on human capital formation, and what parental behavior could be leading to those effects. I estimate the impact of the unemployment rates on children's assessment outcomes in cognitive and noncognitive skills. Counterintuitively, the results suggest that higher unemployment rates are linked to positive child development outcomes later in childhood. In my main specification, an increase of 1 percentage point in state unemployment causes an increase of 2.5% of a standard deviation in cognitive test scores after controlling for income at birth, hours worked at birth, and other variables.

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Date Created
  • 2021