Pandemic spawns fertility crisis down south in Europe

World

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

Catarina Demony and Gavin Jones

“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...

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