Introduction Chinese family planning policy is unique. There is limited sex education and the state is highly influential. This has resulted in extremely wide coverage of contraception with long-acting methods being favoured. The Chinese constitute a large proportion of asylum applicants to the UK. This study examines how their experiences and decisions about family planning in the UK are shaped by their cultural background.
Methods Data were drawn from 10 semi-structured qualitative interviews with female Chinese asylum seekers recruited through a family planning clinic in the UK.
Results The increased autonomy provided by the UK system was appreciated by the participants. Choice of contraceptive method was influenced by traditional cultural beliefs and values, and the effect of hormonal contraception on menstruation was particularly concerning. Women arrived from China with little knowledge of contraception. Friends from a similar background were the most trusted source of advice. When transitioning from China to the UK unwanted pregnancies had occurred amongst unmarried women who had missed out on sex education while living in China.
Conclusions Chinese societal and cultural practices continue to influence family planning decisions made within the UK. Culturally competent health strategies are needed to ensure Chinese immigrant women fully benefit from family planning within the UK.
- Ethnic Minority and Cultural Issues
- Family Planning Service Provision
- General Practice
- Sex Education
- Qualitative Research
- Reproductive Health Politics
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