This report presents findings from a qualitative sub-study exploring adolescent girls and young couples’ experiences of marital and fertility decision-making in two southern Indian states (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana). Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are among the top states reporting high adolescent fertility: 12 and 11 per cent of young women age 15-19 in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, respectively, were already mothers or pregnant when surveyed in 2015/16. This research was carried out as part of Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty that traced the life trajectories of 3,000 children (in two age groups) and their households located in these states, over a 15-year period. By age 18, around 30 per cent of girls in the Young Lives study had married, and 23 per cent of these married girls had also become mothers.
- Adolescent girls continue to have limited choice in who and when they marry.
- Sex education in schools is failing young people.
- Adolescent girls and their spouses enter marital life with limited knowledge about modern contraceptive choices.
- Although contraceptive options are available, they are not reaching the young married couples who want or need them.
- Contraceptive use is very low among young married couples.
- Sterilisation of women in their early twenties is common after they have had children.
- Boys and young men are marginalised from sexual and reproductive health services.
- Although girls who marry in early adolescence are particularly vulnerable, marrying over the age of 18 does not guarantee improved freedoms and choice in marital and fertility decision-making.
Suggested citation: Crivello, G., J. Roest, U. Vennam, R. Singh, and F. Winter (2018) ‘Marital and Fertility Decision-making: The Lived Experiences of Adolescents and Young Married Couples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India’, Research Report, Oxford: Young Lives.