Global Fertility Rate: The International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) has brought together a group of eminent doctors to draw attention to a worrying trend: the world’s fertility rate is declining. Their findings highlight the important, yet little-known, effects that this trend is having on economies and society around the globe.
The doctors highlight an alarming prediction: many nations may experience a halving of their populations between 2017 and 2100, barring migration. It is predicted that by 2100, a startling 93% of all countries will have fertility rates below the replacement threshold of 2.1 children per woman, which will affect 77% of primarily high-income countries by 2050.
A Global Perspective on Fertility
Reproductive experts from a variety of countries, including Australia, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, The Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, make up this team of experts, guaranteeing a worldwide viewpoint on the matter.
The study offers a number of suggestions for governments, legislators, businesses, medical professionals, and patients to reduce the risks associated with infertility and enhance the accessibility and cost of reproductive care, given that underpopulation is a serious concern.
The co-first author of the research and Scientific Director of IFFS, Bart CJM Fauser, highlights the human right to family formation. He draws attention to the difficulties in obtaining fertility care, pointing out that it is frequently unavailable and has exorbitant fees. “Choosing to have a family is a human right,” said Fauser. “But access to fertility care is often unaffordable, inaccessible, and inequitable and that needs to change.”
Disparities in Access and Human Rights
The study highlights important developments in reproductive therapies during the previous thirty years, which have helped singles, LGBTQ+ individuals, and infertile couples. Globally, inequities in equity and access nevertheless continue to exist.
One bright spot, according to IFFS President Edgar Mocanu, is that infertility is frequently avoidable. In order to provide people the knowledge necessary to make educated decisions regarding family planning, he supports thorough education about fertility and contraception.
According to Mocanu, “the good news is that infertility is often preventable.” “Providing balanced fertility and contraceptive education is a simple first step towards empowering everyone to make their own decisions about when to avoid getting pregnant and, if they so choose, when to start a family.”
The study discusses the startlingly high incidence of infertility, which affects one in six people who are of reproductive age and affects both sexes equally. Reduced fertility in both sexes is caused by a number of factors, including obesity, poor nutrition, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and STDs. Environmental variables that increase the risk include air pollution and uncontrolled substances. The authors suggest a number of ways to increase birth rates, such as supportive policies for working women and families.
Global Fertility: Disparity in ART Services
These include increased access to assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments, childcare, parental leave, and pay for extended pregnancy leaves.
The difference in ART access is mentioned by Dr. Luca Gianaroli, Director of Education at IFFS. Although over 10% of babies born in affluent nations are said to have been assisted through infertility, high costs and inconsistent availability continue to be obstacles across the globe.
“While more than 10 percent of all children are born with fertility assistance in some wealthy countries, there is great variation in access to care and the high cost remains a barrier across the board,” said Dr. Gianaroli.
He calls for more countries to consider public funding for fertility treatments as a response to declining birth rates.
“A limited number of countries have started public funding of fertility treatment to mitigate falling birth rates, and the IFFS is asking that more countries consider providing financial assistance for individuals needing fertility care,” Gianaroli explained.
How to Increase Global Fertility Rates?
The document ends with four main action items that serve as the foundation for their global awareness and education campaign, “More Joy”:
- Create policies that will lower the risk factors for infertility and improve the accessibility, equity, and cost of fertility care.
- Develop assisted reproductive technologies that are easier to use, less involved, and more economical.
- Inform patients about ways to prevent infertility and include information on fertility in family planning and contraceptive education.
- Upgrade support systems and infrastructure to increase access to care, particularly in nations with limited resources.
In conclusion, the doctors maintain that providing reproductive care has positive social and economic effects, and that these benefits will only increase with the ageing of the population.
This important work establishes the foundation for tackling a worldwide issue that impacts all of us and demands quick action to protect our children and grandchildren.