- Health and economic uncertainty and cohabitation issues are the main reasons that rule out the possibility of a post-pandemic Baby Boom.
- By 2020, there is expected to be a 1.5% decline in births through assisted reproductive treatments. The interest in future motherhood continues and the requests for information on egg freezing treatments are maintained, as well as the demand for assisted reproduction treatments, recovered to 100%.
- Teleworking will bring changes in family planning and could lead to an increase in the number of single mothers.
Barcelona, July 21, 2020.- Assisted reproduction clinics in Spain have been growing in number year after year, reaching 468 centers and with revenues of 632 million euros in 2019 according to data from Informa’s DBK Sector Observatory. The COVID has caused these centers to experience a halt in their activity from March 14 to May 4, as indicated by the Spanish health authorities and scientific entities. The experts of Top Doctors, an online platform for finding and contacting the best medical specialists in private healthcare, have made an analysis of what this hiatus in activity means in relation to “unborn” children and the current situation in assisted reproduction centers.
“If we take into account that in 2017 8.6% of newborns were from assisted reproductive techniques, we estimate that the two-month hiatus may mean about 1.5% fewer births for this 2020. Our current demand for treatment is identical to that prior to the declaration of the state of alarm by Covid19. This is thanks to the fact that pregnant women are not a high-risk group, neither in terms of severity nor in terms of infection rate, so we have had a positive, sensible and enthusiastic response from our patients and couples”, assures Dr. Luis García Martin, medical director of the Assisted Reproduction Unit at HC Fertility – HC Marbella and member of Top Doctors.
Economic concerns, cohabitation problems and uncertainty make Top Doctors’ experts rule out a baby boom.
The birth rate has been declining year after year in the last decade to a 30% reduction. And, although traditionally the various tragic events in history have led to spikes in this rate, the experts at Top Doctors do not believe that a post-COVID-19 Baby Boom will occur. “It has been seen that many couples have delayed their genetic desire due to economic problems, concern about the effect of the coronavirus on the pregnancy or on the newborn, and problems of cohabitation in confinement, since, in fact, divorces have increased. So we do not foresee a high peak in the number of births in the coming months,” says Dr. Vega Cabezuelo Sánchez, Women’s Unit of the Ruber International Hospital.
Nor has there been a greater request for information about egg freezing treatment to ensure certain future possibilities of motherhood. “The request for information on egg freezing remains unchanged, contrary to the center’s estimates, except for women over 40 years of age. Women and couples want to become pregnant immediately, so they have only requested information on the fertilization treatments themselves, for an early motherhood, not to delay this option,” explains Dr. Garcia Martin.
The changes brought about by the COVID will lead to an increase in single mothers.
Taking the step towards single motherhood has been an upward trend for several years now, and experts believe that it could be encouraged by the changes in work models brought about by the COVID. Currently, 90% of the demand for artificial insemination banks is from women without a male partner, half of whom are single mothers and the other half women with a female partner. “Some of the changes in habits that we have acquired in recent months will probably remain after the pandemic, such as teleworking and teleconsultation. This allows many couples and many single women to rethink their family planning and encourage them to have a child by having greater availability to care for them” explains Dr. Sylvia Fernandez-Shaw, head of URH GARCIA DEL REAL, which is the assisted reproduction unit of the EGR Medicine Institute and a member of Top Doctors.
Telemedicine has made it possible to follow up on treatments
Telephone, instant messaging and video consultation have been key to maintaining patient contact and information, as well as treatment follow-up, reducing the level of uncertainty. “For 15 years we have been providing care via video consultation, with 80% of first consultations via Skype. This crisis has led to an increase in this percentage, as we have used all the remote care systems available. We have also presented a new technique that allows the male to freeze his sperm at home and then send it to the clinic. Telemecidin is going to become more popular in the medium term as it avoids trips to the clinic for consultations and reduces stress for the patient”, explains Dr. Marisa López-Teijón, a gynecologist specializing in Assisted Reproduction and director of Institut Marquès and member of Top Doctors.
Doctors members of Top Doctors who have collaborated:
- Dr. Luis García Martin, medical director of the Assisted Reproduction Unit of HC Fertility – HC Marbella and member of Top Doctors.
- Dr. Sylvia Fernández-Shaw – head of URH GARCIA DEL REAL, which is the assisted reproduction unit of the EGR Medicine Institute.
- Dra. Vega Cabezuelo Sánchez, Women’s Unit, Ruber Internacional Hospital.
- Dr. Marisa López-Teijón, gynecologist specializing in Assisted Reproduction and Director of the Institut Marquès.