Pandemic spawns fertility crisis down south in Europe
Fertility gap grows wider between richer north and the poorer south as southern regions put a pause on babies
“It’s time to become a mom,” was the push-notification hundreds of Portuguese women received on their cellphones last month.
The text, sent by a private hospital in Lisbon trying to drum up clients for its maternity unit, caused outrage on social media, with some women saying the middle of a pandemic and recession is the worst possible time to have a baby.
Evidence suggests the coronavirus is deterring would-be parents from conceiving in most of Europe, but especially in the southern countries – from Italy to Greece – where safety nets are weakest and the birthrate was already in strong decline...