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Multiple Studies Confirm Worldwide Decline in Birth and Fertility Rates  

by | Employer, Fertility Blog

Worldwide changes in fertility rates

Readers in every corner of the world are now digesting the implications of a new analysis of global fertility rates, with predictions published in a Lancet paper showing a dramatic decline in birth rates and a transformative shift in population patterns by 2100. This report dovetails with the findings of a January 2024 leading edge study  (Oxford University Press) addressing the critical issues surrounding declining fertility rates and their profound societal consequences. 

As first co-author of the Oxford study, David Adamson, MD, founder and CEO, ARC® Fertility, says, “I was not surprised by the new estimates that by 2050, more than three-quarters of countries will see their populations shrink, rising to 97% by century’s end. This data further confirms our pivotal exploration of the evolving dynamics of fertility globally and the research we reported which emphasizes the need for a comprehensive understanding of family building and underscores the importance of accessible fertility care.”

Dr. Adamson, a world-renowned endocrinologist and recognized leader in reproductive health, founded ARC Fertility with a commitment to addressing these challenges for employers and healthcare decision-makers and advocating for family-friendly policies worldwide.

Eye-Opening Statistics

According to The Lancet report:

Births will nearly double in low-income regions from 2021 to 2100, when 1 out of every 2 children on the planet will be born in sub-Saharan Africa. 

By 2050, more than three-quarters of countries will see their populations shrink, rising to 97% by century’s end. 

“Not too long ago, everyone was concerned about overpopulation but today, these bodies of research underscore a shift in focus from family-planning policies aimed at avoiding unintended pregnancies to those that optimize chances of having a child when desired,” says Dr. Adamson. “Half of the countries worldwide exhibit fertility rates below replacement levels, leading to demographic changes with far-reaching repercussions.”

Industry observers point to the emergence of a “demographically divided world” where middle- and high-income countries with a diminishing workforce could strain health and social systems of an aging population. 

“We are likely to see countries with younger, faster-growing populations having fewer resources to cope with economic instability, heat strain from climate change, and limited access to health care – including contraception and education for women,” he continues. “It is incumbent upon leaders in global health to address these demographic challenges,”

Tackling Important Issues

Dr. Adamson points to key concerns as highlighted in the Oxford study:

  1. Disparities in Access to Fertility Care: The study marks the first attempt by the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) to describe major disparities in access to fertility care in the context of decreasing world population growth. The narrative review of existing literature reveals significant variations in public spending on child benefits and the implementation of child-friendly policies worldwide.
  2. Concept of Family Building: The study introduces the concept of family building, emphasizing diverse methods and options for individuals or couples who wish to have children. Family building encompasses biological means, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), surrogacy, adoption, and foster care. The research calls for increased awareness and education programs to prevent infertility among young adults.
  3. Improvements in Fertility Care: The study highlights major advances in fertility care since the 1990s, significantly improving family-building opportunities. However, it points out substantial variations in access to care globally, with the high-cost rendering infertility treatment unaffordable for many.

“It is gratifying to see researchers worldwide conduct studies that confirm the dramatic changes in fertility rates,” he says.  “Putting a spotlight on these trends in such prestigious journals is a wake-up call that resonates in every geographic region.”

About ARC® Fertility

ARC® Fertility was founded in 1997 from its founder’s passion to increase access to affordable, high-quality reproductive care for everyone. We are accomplishing our mission through our national network of top-tier fertility clinics and with the help of brokers and employers. ARC physicians deliver high-value fertility and family-forming employer benefits through evidence-based treatment packages and financing directly to patients. ARC Fertility has helped tens of thousands of people create the family of their dreams.

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