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Infertility hits one in five Singapore couples

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  • Sg_Review@yahoogroups.com
    Infertility hits one in five Singapore couples [Corrected 01/03/03] 3 January 2003 Agence France-Presse English (Copyright 2003) SINGAPORE, Jan 3 (AFP) - One
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 11, 2003
      Infertility hits one in five Singapore couples [Corrected 01/03/03]
      3 January 2003
      Agence France-Presse
      English
      (Copyright 2003)

      SINGAPORE, Jan 3 (AFP) - One in five married couples in Singapore now
      find it difficult to conceive, with the city-state's high- pressure
      life and demanding education system possibly part of the blame, a
      senior fertility doctor said Friday.

      The 20 percent figure shows Singapore moving into the upper end of
      infertility rates in developed countries which range between 15 and
      25 percent.

      Christopher Chen, who heads the invitro fertilisation clinic at
      Gleneagles Hospital here, told AFP that infertility has risen
      steadily since the early 1980s when it stood at around 10 percent.

      The high infertility data comes as the government wrestles with the
      problem of a declining population, as the fertility rate languishes
      below 1.5 children per woman, well short of the 2.15 necessary for a
      population to replace itself.

      The declining birth numbers have been attributed in part to
      Singaporeans putting career and money as their top priorities ahead
      of starting a family, as well as multiple medical reasons.

      Chen said men now contributed to 40 percent of infertility cases, and
      the number was rising, while medical problems once primarly seen in
      women in their late 30s and 40s are now found in women in their early
      20s.

      "Why this happens, we don't know but we feel it could be the stress,"
      he said.

      "In today's environment there's a lot of pressure on children to
      perform well to get into the best stream at school. Stress does
      contribute to infertility."

      Rising infertility has resulted in increasing numbers of single
      Singaporeans undergoing fertility tests before getting married.

      "A couple of years ago, we did not see couples requesting pre-
      marital fertility assessment, but this has started happening over the
      last two years, especially the last year,' Chen told the Straits
      Times.

      He said the tests can help rescue the situation early.

      Some couples spend the first two years of marriage using
      contraception, then spend two years trying in vain to have a baby "so
      a good four to five years are wasted before they seek help,' he said.

      In Singapore, most couples wait until their 30s to start a family.

      The three public hospitals in the tiny city-state are each seeing 20-
      30 new infertility cases each week.

      The number of births in Singapore fell from 47,000 in 1997 to 41,775
      in 2001. For the first six months of last year, there were only
      19,712 births.

      Singapore has long been concerned about its declining birth rate, and
      has provided a number of incentives for people to get married and
      start a family.

      The government encourages employers to offer flexible work hours so
      couples can spend more "quality time" together, it has introduced a
      baby-bonus scheme to encourage bigger families, and there is a state-
      run dating agency.

      cf/pch

      Singapore-society
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