Miscarriage, Childlessness and the Stability of Married and Cohabiting Young-Adult Couples

David McClendon, University of Texas at Austin

Although children are typically a source of greater stability for married couples, most studies do not distinguish between couples who are childless by choice and those who face biological barriers to parenthood. This study uses waves I and IV of the Add Health survey to investigate the association between miscarriage and the risk of union dissolution. While miscarriage, on average, is associated with greater stability, this effect varies by marital status and childlessness. Among the married, childless couples who miscarry share the same elevated risk of divorce, relative to those with children, as other childless couples. Among cohabitors, childless couples who miscarry have a lower risk of separation than other childless couples but still have a higher risk relative to cohabitors with children. These findings highlight the relational dimensions of subfecundity in young adulthood and underscore the continued importance of children for stability in both married and cohabiting unions.

  See paper

Presented in Session 90: Infertility and Childlessness: Determinants, Choices, Treatments and Consequences