Experts discuss reproductive health, fertility and population


Less than 13 percent of families with permanent residence in Shanghai have a second child, while nearly a third of families in other provinces have a second child, according to a survey released by the Shanghai Health Commission on Sunday. eve of World Contraception Day.

On Sunday, health experts, sociologists and demographers held an online meeting to discuss reproductive health, fertility protection and population development.

A survey of 19,314 women aged 20 to 49 living in Shanghai’s 16 districts was released at the meeting, indicating that the cost of education, the cost of raising children and the high cost of housing are the three main factors affecting the desire to have children.

The average demand is less than two children according to the survey, while people outside Shanghai have a stronger desire to have more than one child.

The desire is far below government policy, which allows each couple to have three children.

People with larger homes have a greater desire to have children, while families with annual incomes below 100,000 yuan ($14,025) have the lowest desire.

The main reason why people do not want a child or do not want more children is the high cost of childbearing, education and housing.

The cost of raising children is greater than education expenditure. Shanghai children’s spending on education and interest cultivation is higher than that of families in other provinces.

Zhou Haiwang of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences said the government should introduce more supportive policies and invest more in education and housing to encourage couples to have children.

Employment and childbirth friendly social protection and insurance policies should be introduced to reduce the burden on companies to hire women and protect women’s legal rights.

More facilities such as nurseries should be built to ease families’ burden of caring for children, he said.

Besides the desire to have children, the reduction of fertility was also mentioned during the meeting. Experts have stated that late age at first marriage and abortion among unmarried women are important causes that influence fertility.

Frequent abortions can impact a woman’s fertility. This is one of the causes of the rise in infertility, said reproductive health expert Dr. Cheng Linan.

Experts have also called for sex education for minors and young people to bring fertility protection to younger people.

“A survey of domestic university students in 2020 revealed that many students had a very open attitude towards sex but a lack of appropriate sexual knowledge,” said Yan Hongli of the Center for Reproductive Medicine of the hospital of Shanghai. “Only half of students have received sex education at school. Parents, schools and the government should take responsibility for promoting reproductive knowledge and sex education.”


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