Male participation in childbearing research

Where are all the men?

It has internationally been recognised that there is a lack of men in reproductive health services and research. As a result a number of researchers have begun to pay more attention to men. This attention however, has been predominantly problem orientated characterised by an overall focus on sexual health rather than childbearing. Consequently little is known about men’s childbearing preferences and behaviour. The under-representation of men within childbearing research could be due to three possible causes; social change (i.e., women controlling reproduction), researcher exclusion (i.e., researchers regarding women to be at the forefront of the decision-making process) or self exclusion (i.e., men excluding themselves from the research due to low interest in the topic). It is of imperative importance that we gain a clearer understanding of men’s childbearing preferences and behaviour; however before we do this it is necessary to gain a clearer understanding of male participation in childbearing research and address the possible reasons for why they are under-represented within this specific field of health research. Thus, the aim of this research project is to investigate the value of using the Theory of Planned Behaviour to account for variation in childbearing research participation.