Purpose:To explore the gender-based power relationships and social and cultural influences on reproductive decision-making processes among HIV-positive couples in Taiwan.
Methods:The study sample consisted of 14 HIV-positive couples in southern Taiwan. Data were analyzed using feminist ethnography to explore reproductive decisions made by these couples within the context of Taiwanese society.
Findings:Self-knowledge of HIV status had a limited influence on decisions about childbearing. More important was the Confucian values of filial piety and familial obligation, a powerful norm that still dictates procreation decisions in Taiwan. The process by which the couples made reproductive decisions consisted of four stages: initial reproductive decisions between partners, their search for information, their encounters with medical systems, and their weighing risks and benefits. Male and female partners expressed different concerns, and gender-based power relationships were exercised during the decision-making process.
Conclusions:HIV status was not the sole determinant of reproductive decisions made by HIV-positive couples. Rather, the Confucian value of filial piety drove the couples' reproductive decisions.