Tags: denmark | fertility | rates | drop

Having Babies Is New Sex Ed Mantra in Denmark as Fertility Falls

Monday, 27 Oct 2014 12:58 PM

Sex education in Denmark is about to shift focus after fertility rates dropped to the lowest in almost three decades.

After years of focusing on how to use contraceptives, Sex and Society, the Nordic country’s biggest provider of sex education materials for schools, has changed its curriculum to encourage having babies under the rubric: “This is how you have children!”

Infertility is considered “an epidemic” in Denmark, said Bjarne Christensen, secretary general of the Copenhagen-based organization. “We see more and more couples needing to get assisted fertility treatment. We see a lot of people who don’t succeed in having children.”

Denmark’s fertility rate is at its lowest in more than a quarter of a century, with one in 10 children conceived only after treatment. Health professionals are urging the government to do more to address the declining birth rate and prevent it becoming a bigger demographic problem.

“We hope to raise a discussion in society about how to advise young people,” said Christensen, whose group helps organize an annual Sex Week to focus schools’ attention on the subject. “It’s a problem that fertility in Denmark is reduced.”

Sex and Society’s new focus, unveiled yesterday, includes information for school children explaining what fertility is, when the best times to have children may be, and what the effects of aging are. The non-profit group is also working with Denmark’s Environment Ministry on identifying factors that may depress birth rates.

Semen Quality

“There have been analyses of men’s semen quality and it’s actually been declining quite dramatically,” Christensen said.

One in five men and 12 percent of women who want to have children cannot, according to Dansk Fertilitetsselskab, a professional organization for health providers and researchers.

Last year, 55,873 live births were reported in Denmark, according to the country’s statistics agency. That’s the lowest number since the late 1980s. In the European Union, the number of live births has stagnated at around 5 million a year since the mid-1990s, according to the European Commission. In the 1960s, more than 7 million children were born each year.

“We have a culture in Denmark where you tend to prolong the time to the first birth, and we are now passing 29 years, which means a lot of people have children a lot later,” Christensen said.

The trend has profound effects not only on individuals but also on the economy and the outlook for standards of life in the decades ahead as fewer younger, working people are available to support aging, retired populations.

The European Commission says it considers the growing gap between the number of young people and older people to be one of the region’s biggest challenges. Last year, there were four people working for every person over 65. That’s expected to drop to almost two to one by 2080.

 

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Sex education in Denmark is about to shift focus after fertility rates dropped to the lowest in almost three decades.After years of focusing on how to use contraceptives, Sex and Society, the Nordic country's biggest provider of sex education materials for schools, has...
denmark, fertility, rates, drop
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2014-58-27
Monday, 27 Oct 2014 12:58 PM
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