Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Does Bad Economy Equal Low Fertility Rate?

The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), 1995, revealed that the number of women using infertility services in the U.S. was 9.3 million, and today if the forecast of some economists is to be believed, the economic crisis could cause the U.S. birth rate to decline.

Aside from the usual infertility problems treated with fertility drugs, the strained economy has its own way of affecting fertility.

Here are some hows and whys?

  • According to a story in the LA Times, historical data over the past 75 years suggests that the U.S. fertility rate has declined following economic recessions. Not surprisingly, it was the worst after the Great Depression. Though not as bad as the Great Depression, the recession this time is big enough to be compared head on with its grandpa.
  • Further, as a consequence of economic hardships, many couples might decide to either postpone or not have children at all. And it already appears to be happening, as reports from all across the country suggest that the number of men wanting to undergo vasectomy – a medical procedure leading to permanent sterilization, have doubled according to a Web MD article. This seems pretty extreme considering the availability of many other contraceptive methods such as the use of birth control pharma drugs.
  • At the same time, some sociologists opine that recession could even lead to more births than less. The reasoning is that job loss will present women with more time and an opportunity to have children and raise them.
  • A rather different kind of a baby boom also seems to be occurring and that is of many women opting to donate eggs to fertility clinics, to financially support themselves, an MSNBC report suggests that.
While it will take a couple of months before the actual effect on fertility rate can be assessed, it's seems unmistakable that state of the economy can have some significant repercussions on human fertility.

No comments: