Demographic relevancy of increased use of assisted reproduction in European countries

Boris Burcin, Charles University in Prague
Jirina Kocourková, Charles University in Prague
Tomas Kucera, Charles University in Prague

Delayed childbearing in European countries has resulted in increase in the number of women who decided to have children later in their lifetime. As a result more women face the problem of infertility and cannot achieve their desired number of children. Fertility postponement belongs among the major factors of the increasing use of assisted reproduction technology (ART). Simultaneously, the availability of ART contributes to the rise in women’s childbearing age. The main goal of our research is to evaluate demographic importance of increased use of ART and to examine the impact on both the fertility level and birth timing. A comparative analysis based on demographic and ART data collected by the ESHRE confirmed a positive correlation between TFR and the number of treatment cycles per million of women in reproductive age. A more significant impact of the ART use on fertility level was observed in the countries where couples were encouraged to seek help sooner rather than later. Despite the strong positive correlation between the degree of fertility postponement and the demand for ART among women aged 35 and older the highest share of children born after ART was not found in the countries characterized by very late childbearing pattern but in those countries with less advanced fertility postponement. ART can have a demographic impact when women take advantage of it rather early than late in their lifetime. Accordingly, it is suggested to promote rather earlier use of ART in order to fulfil one´s reproductive plans and to avoid the higher risk of reproductive health problems resulting in low success rate of ART. However, such reproductive health policy should be a part of policies promoting early parenthood preventing further delay in fertility timing and enabling early diagnose of potential reproductive health problems requiring application of ART.

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Presented in Session 112: Assisted reproductive technology: challenges in low fertility settings