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Reproductive Medicine: to the Rescue of Low Birth Rates

The suspicions present for almost a decade now have been confirmed, as in 2023 Spain recorded its lowest birth rate since 1941. While in the past the post-war period explained the drop in births, nowadays the causes are different. In this article we will reveal these factors and understand how assisted reproduction comes into play at this juncture. 

Low Birth Rate in Spain in 2023

The data that lead us to publish this text today are obtained from the latest report by the National Statistics Institute (INE), which as a whole reflects the estimated number of deaths and births that occurred in Spain last year. According to this study, our country registered a total of 322,075 births in 2023, which represents 2% less than the previous year, and, as mentioned above, the lowest figure since 1941. This also places us at the bottom of the list in comparison with other European countries and even the rest of the world. Experts also point out in their report that, together with this decrease, they have observed a high prevalence of women who have become mothers after the age of 40 or more, which has grown by 19.3% over the last decade. 

What is the Reason for this Decrease in the Number of Births?

According to specialists in the field, the main reasons for the decline in the birth rate are based on social, economic and employment factors. The personal and financial stability needed to start a family is not being achieved today at the same age and in the same way as it was 50 years ago, with this meaning that young people do not prioritise having children over pursuing a career, having certain experiences or enjoying complete independence – both situationally and financially.

Against this background, it is not surprising that women under the age of 25 account for only 9.4 % of those who have become mothers, while women over the age of 30 account for more.

In this context, it is also undeniable to highlight the difficulties associated with having children in terms of fertility status. This is why, in the following, we will understand the importance of age – particularly in the case of women – and, therefore, the role that assisted reproduction clinics play in the situation that is the focus of this article. 

Reproductive Solutions to Social Challenges

Despite the fact that, in popular terms, a 40-year-old woman may seem young to us, when talking about fertility, we would be dealing with a patient of advanced maternal age. This classification is linked to the more than significant concept of ovarian reserve.

The ovarian reserve is the number of eggs that a woman has throughout her life, which, although at birth is around 2 million, once she reaches 30 years of age it becomes around 30,000 and, as previously mentioned, it is from this vital moment onwards when motherhood is really considered.

In view of the latest data from the INE, on 4 March, the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF) addressed the issue of Spain’s low birth rate in the Senate, with the aim of proposing the development of a plan that favours access to assisted reproduction, promotes work-life balance and, in general terms, facilitates the experience of becoming a mother or father.

In the meantime, specialists in reproductive medicine advocate to continuously raise awareness of the significant advances that our sector has undergone over these past years, adapting to society and its changes. Ovarian rejuvenation treatments, for example, are an option that can improve the options for patients with low ovarian reserve. Similarly, procedures using donated gametes or embryos are at their pick, having become one of the most popular options for patients who wish to expand their family.

Last but not least, at IVF-Life, supporting the aforementioned crucial social awareness, we also encourage young people to know more about their reproductive health and being in control of it. Being aware of the consequences of late motherhood or of the existence of alternatives such as fertility preservation treatments means, without a doubt, having valuable information for the future.

If you also want to know today what you can do tomorrow with your desire to start a family, at IVF-Life we have all the answers you are looking for.