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The decline of motherhood

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Sunday, May 13, 2007 | 0 comments

Hiking along the northern reaches of British Columbia's Sunshine Coast last week, my sister and I passed by the home of a woman recently taken by cancer. As dignified deaths go, it was exemplary. Predeceased by her husband, her care was assumed in turns by her four grown children. She died peacefully, surrounded by them and her beloved ocean views.

For the generation that's brought Canada's fertility rate to below replacement levels, such idylls can only become increasingly rare. With 1.5 children per couple, our best hope is a quiet death in a clean facility where the immigrant workers speak our language. And that's only the human face of demographic decline. The economic face is hardly more appealing: unfilled labour markets, reduced GDP and no tax revenues to pay for health care -- to name a few.

Canada isn't the only country in this predicament. According to America Alone, Mark Steyn's self-described and penetrating rant on "demography, Islam and civilizational exhaustion," the developed world has gone from 30 per cent to 20 per cent of global population. Greece has 1.3 births per couple -- the "lowest low" from which no society has ever recovered; Russia, where 60 per cent of pregnancies are terminated, has the fastest-growing rate of HIV in the world and, by 2050, 60 per cent of Italians will have no brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts or uncles. In the developed world, only the United States, with a 2.1 birth rate, is replacing itself.

How did it come to this? In Canada, one answer is infertility. This affects one in every 15 Canadian couples (in Britain one in six are affected), who spend some $30 million a year on in-vitro fertilization alone. Defined as failure to conceive after one year of trying, infertility can result from many factors affecting both males and females, but according to the government of Canada's Biobasics website, the two biggest factors are delayed childbearing and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Full article: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=e44b454d-ba4b-46c7-bf96-2170057b6d4a





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Catherine

About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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