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FAMILY/ What lies behind the rush to not have children

CARLO BELLIENI discusses the phenomenon in the West of having children later and later in life, the causes, the dangers and who is actually pushing for this result.

(Infophoto) (Infophoto)

A report was recently released called “Every woman's right” by the association Save the Children. The subtitle of the article is “How family planning saves the lives of children”, and an international summit on family planning was held at the beginning of July. The report focuses on the risk of having a child in adolescence, stating that, on a global level, the maternal and child mortality rates increase if one has children when one’s body or the environment is not ready. A reader might misinterpret the report at this point, and not realize that it actually focuses almost exclusively on developing countries. There are case studies related to Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi, countries where economic and social shortcomings mean that, unfortunately, what for us is only a risk, there, because of a lack of means and because of violence (which is often uncontrollable), it becomes a drama. The U.S. Center for Disease Control says that, instead, teenage pregnancy in the West has been in decline for some years, and that it basically never puts the mother's life at risk, but rather her academic success, which still should not be underestimated as an important consequence.

The Save the Children report indicates a real problem and invites us all to seek serious solutions for Africa, distant from Western selfishness (solutions that come before the propaganda for contraception), but one should be careful not to add the African alarm to the advertising of newspapers and magazines in Europe and the USA that encourage the now ruling idea of having children “only when everything is in place”, which means after 30 years (but given the crisis, now one must recalculate)... as though the problem of teen pregnancy in the West had the same weight as in Africa. In the West, people are invited to postpone more and more, while no one says that, over time, the possibility of having children decreases, even with the vaunted in-vitro fertilization. At 18-20 years of age, the probability of having a child after trying during the cycle is 30%, but just jumping ahead to 20-25 years, the percentage falls to 18% (C. Bellieni. N. Marchettini). Think what happens if you try after 35, as is increasingly the case. No one warns about this, however, just as no one warns about the other risks of delayed pregnancy: miscarriage; ectopic pregnancy; twins in high numbers; prematurity; and genetic abnormalities.

It is as if one claims always and only the right not to have children and never the right to have them. We should certainly continue to address the African problem that deserves a complex, multidisciplinary approach, both political and economic (perhaps in the context of globalization it is convenient that there are countries where labor costs nothing because it is not at all or almost not at all warranted, but the European problem is instead that no one has his own children any more. A person has only one child, and only after thirty years (in cases where it is still possible).