Fertility policy here refers to policies directly related to the process of childbearing, from conception to birth. This is distinguished from child care policy, which is policy related to what happens after children are born, and also from marriage promotion policy, which is policy encouraged to get people to marry.
Fertility policy can be categorized as follows:
- Policies that involve restricting access to some options: This could include restricting access to contraceptives or abortion. These access restrictions are alleged to have pronatalist effects, although the primary goal of such restrictions is often unrelated to pronatalism.
- Policies that involve subsidies for some options: This includes subsidies for childbirth, prenatal and neonatal care for mothers and infants, contraceptives, abortion, infertility treatments, or family planning services. Some of these subsidies are pronatalist, while others are antinatalist.
- Policies that encourage the provision of biological or medical information on fertility (such as sex education in schools, or circulation of family planning information). This is relatively neutral in principle, and whether it increases or reduces fertility depends on the sign of the difference between people's desired fertility and their actual fertility.