Low fertility rates = an ageing/shrinking population = slow economic growth that strains government budgets.
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The recent news that Malaysia’s fertility rate is at the lowest in over 40 years is worrisome from an economic standpoint as it makes it difficult to have sustainable development plans in the future.
The reasons for the drop vary. Some couples for example marry later in life. Then there’s also the rising cost of living, while some couples are open to the idea of being child-free.
More women are also choosing education and work over having kids. In a way, failing fertility rates could even be considered a success story.
It’s not just Malaysia facing this issue, researcher Professor Christopher Murray told BBC that most of the world is transitioning into natural population decline.
It will create enormous social change. It makes me worried because I have an eight-year-old daughter and I wonder what the world will be like.Professor Christopher Murray via BBC
The situation also poses the question of who pays tax in a massively aged world? Who pays for healthcare for the elderly? Who looks after the elderly? Will people still be able to retire from work?
Anyone who has ever read/watched the Handmaids Tale knows what kind of dystopian world it may turn out to be with low fertility rates!
Not to scare you, but time is ticking. And if you are able and want to have children, here’s some research as to what ages you should start trying for them.
Do you want 1, 2 or 3 kids?
There’s a scientific equation that helps you determine what age you want to start a family.
Experts at Europe’s ‘largest and most authoritative scientific university medical centres’ – Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands have created a mathematical model that parents can use to work out when they should start trying for a baby.
Women can wait until they are 41 to start trying for a baby naturally but with a 50% chance of conceiving.
The best odds of conceiving though is at the age of 31 with a 90% chance and the chances drop to 75% at age 37.
For a 90% chance of conception, 27 is the recommended age to start. The percentage drops to 75% at the age of 34, and at 38 it drops to 50%.
The study shows if you want three children, the best time to start is at the age of 23. The chances are still in your favour though at a 75% chance if you wait till you’re 31.
However, at 35 the odds of having 3 children drop to 50%.
Keep in mind that it’s best to wait at least 18 months (1 ½ years) between giving birth and getting pregnant again because too little time between pregnancies increases your risk of premature birth.
What about the men though? It takes two to tango right? Well, men’s fertility declines more subtly over a longer period from the age of around 40 to 45.
We understand, and this writer knows, that sometimes having children isn’t as easy as it sounds due to many physiological factors.
Turns out the Malaysian medical system is possibly Asia’s best-kept secret with fertility treatment, such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), costs comparatively affordable with success rates over 70%.
Former advertising mad woman - turned mother to an amazing little girl born 3 months early - and now a returned writer. Also a textbook ambivert with no clue about today's pop music but a walking encyclopedia of music from the 80s and 90s.