- I Social barometer of Spanish women’s perception of motherhood and fertility
- The survey, led by IVI, has been carried out among almost 1000 women between the ages of 25 and 45 of middle, middle-high and high socioeconomic level to discover their perception and attitude towards maternity, fertility and assisted reproduction, within the current social, political and economic scene.
- The ageing population and the progressive decline in the birth rate in our country are resulting in an unprecedented demographic winter that is beginning to endanger generational turnover.
- Concern about COVID-19 and its influence on the decision to become a mother affects 38% of those interviewed, a much lower percentage than those who are reluctant to become a mother in the current socioeconomic context.
The war in Ukraine, the resulting inflation and rise in the cost of living that we have been experiencing in recent months, rumours of an imminent economic crisis… The current and forthcoming socio-economic scene is generating growing social concern, thus affecting vital decisions, including some as important as starting a family.
In this context, IVI has published the ‘I Social Barometer of Spanish women’s perception of motherhood’, an extensive survey carried out by GFK –a leading company in market analysis– showing the behaviour and attitudes of women between the ages of 25 and 45 with regard to fertility, maternity and assisted reproduction, within the current social, political and economic framework.
“Not surprisingly, one of the figures that emerges from this study shows that 78% of women between the ages of 25 and 29 with the intention of becoming mothers have delayed their decision due to the current socioeconomic framework in which we are immersed. When we talk about the total number of women interviewed, in a wide age range, the percentage drops to 67%, which is still quite striking. What is undeniable is that the current context that surrounds us has a major influence on a key decision such as motherhood”, said Dr. María Cerrillo, gynaecologist at IVI Madrid.
The survey was carried out among almost 1,000 women of middle, middle-high and high socioeconomic level, meaning their perception varies from that of the rest of society, on whom they consider that certain factors have a more marked influence.
“In this sense, when we refer to the weight that the current socioeconomic context has on the decision of women in general to delay their decision to become mothers, the percentage rises to 84%, a higher percentage than that registered when they respond on an individual level, which is justified by the social and economic status of the respondents, who consider themselves in a better position than the rest of society. Let’s not forget that we are talking about a middle-high socio-economic segment,” added Dr. Cerrillo.
All of this inevitably leads to a concept that is very much in vogue: “Demographic winter”, a situation that materialises in an ageing population with a falling birth rate, a lethal combination for maintaining generational turnover.
Recently, the UN (United Nations) published the World Population Prospects report, which predicts a demographic maelstrom in the coming decades. As far as Spain is concerned, it is estimated that it will lose 35% of its population, from 47.5 million people at present to 30. The reason? The low birth rates.
Spain’s fertility rate is among the lowest in the world, which is alarming to say the least. On average, only 1.28 children are born per woman, far from the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman required for population renewal.
This brings us to the first problem, which points to the 78% of young people who do not see themselves having children at this point for various reasons. This situation reinforces an unquestionable reality, which is the progressive delay in the age of motherhood, reinforcing the unprecedented scenario of demographic alert that we are experiencing, which many describe as a threat of severe depopulation. But let’s not throw our hands up in the air.
“Science, and more specifically reproductive medicine, is aware of these circumstances and is advancing every day with new alternatives to help women and couples achieve their desire to start a family. Thus, options for more complex cases or advanced maternal age, such as the centre of excellence in ovarian rejuvenation of which IVI is a pioneer, or treatments with donated eggs for women who cannot use their own gametes, outline a hopeful future for these patients, despite the difficulties of the current context”, explained Dr. Cerrillo.
Concern about COVID-19 is put on the back burner
According to the survey, women are less concerned about the effect of COVID-19 on their decision to become mothers, affecting ‘only’ 38% of those surveyed who intend to become mothers.
“The pandemic hit us hard, it shook everything in its path worldwide, and little by little, with effort and patience, we have recovered a certain kind of normality, as necessary as it was expected, adapting day-to-day life and protocols to the reality that this health alert has imposed. Difficult times lie ahead, but in the same way we will look for the best options to face them with the best guarantees for our patients,” concluded Dr. Cerrillo.
In addition to this block of data, the ‘I Social Barometer of Spanish women’s perception of motherhood’ addresses different areas of maternity, fertility and reproductive medicine, the results of which will be made public in the coming months.