France Offers Free Fertility Checks to Boost Birth Rates

France introduces free fertility checks for adults under 25 as part of President Macron's plan to combat the country's low birth rate. The plan also includes educating young people about reproductive health and offering financial incentives for new parents.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
France Offers Free Fertility Checks to Boost Birth Rates

France Offers Free Fertility Checks to Boost Birth Rates

France has introduced free fertility checks for adults under 25 as part of President Emmanuel Macron's "demographic rearmament" initiative to combat the country's catastrophically collapsing birth rate. The fertility rate in France has dropped to a historical low of 1.68 children per woman in 2023, well below the replacement level of 2.1.

Why this matters: The declining birth rate in France has significant implications for the country's social welfare system, which relies on young workers to replace older ones. If left unchecked, this trend could lead to a severe shortage of workers and a strain on the country's economy.

In addition to the free fertility tests for young adults aged 18 to 25, Macron's plan focuses on educating young people about reproductive health to enable informed family planning decisions earlier in life. The French president also recognizes financial pressure as a key factor in the choice to have children. As part of the initiative, new parents, including fathers, will be able to take three months off work and be paid half their salary up to €1,900, potentially amounting to a baby bonus of €11,400 per family.

However, Macron has explicitly ruled out introducing surrogacy, stating that it is "incompatible with the dignity of women" and amounts to "transforming their bodies into commodities." The plan also aims to increase fathers' active participation in their children's lives through a proposed "visitation obligation."

France has a long history of concern about its birth rate, dating back to the 17th century. The country's social welfare system relies on young workers replacing older ones, making the birth rate decline a significant worry. Curiously, the French have become "sexually abstinent," with 43% of youth not having had sex in the past year. While official figures are unavailable due to data collection laws, the Muslim community in France is believed to have a slightly above-replacement-level birth rate.

President Macron's initiative represents a proactive response to France's demographic challenges, but its effectiveness remains to be seen. The population of France is projected to peak at 69.3 million in 2044 before falling to 68.1 million by 2070. Similar trends in declining birth rates have been observed in other European countries, including the UK, where efforts to reverse the trend have not yet yielded significant results.