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Is Having Babies a Problem?
August 7, 2007 13:23

Babies delivered in maternity home

Infertility in Russia becomes a crucial factor, having a significant effect on demographic situation in the country.

Over 4 million pairs of childbearing age in Russia are infertile, says the president of the Russian Association of Human Reproduction (RAHR). Scientists have performed a research in Western Siberia and showed that about one fifth (19%) of population of childbearing age is infertile. Other regions showed similar results – 15% face the same problem. These figures mean that, according World Health Organization’s classification, infertility factor has significant effect on demographic situation in Russia.

RAHR president considers social aspects to affect the problem’s growth – for example, teenagers start their sexual life too early, which means acquiring of sexually transmitted diseases and other genital diseases. Another social reason for infertility is career orientation of young and educated part of the society, which leads to late children in families.


Russian Association of Human Reproduction has following data, describing the situation: Russia has 62 clinics for auxiliary reproductive technologies, which use therapy techniques, based on fertilization outside of an organism. The best technique is called “extracorporal fertilization” (ECF) and is acknowledged to be the main infertility treatment in the world. ECF efficiency, in other words, chances of getting pregnant for one attempt, is 30-40% (compare with 20-25% efficiency in absolutely healthy family).

Over 3 million children in the world were born with the help of auxiliary reproductive technologies (ART). The majority of such children was born in Denmark – 4%, where doctors performed 2100 ECF attempts for 1 million of inhabitants. Russian ECF figures are much lower – only 120 ECF attempts 1 million of inhabitants, which resulted in only 4000 children, born by means of reproductive technologies each year.


Experts consider such low popularity of ART in Russia to root in low paying capacity of Russian citizens and lack of public policy in this field. Russia has less than 10 state clinics, which are known to use said technologies, thus allowing only few patients to receive treatment for free, supported by state programme. Another problem is that almost all state clinics of this kind are located in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, which makes infertility therapy inaccessible for main part of Russian population. Moreover, state supporting programme covers only few infertility types, while average costs of ECF are about 35 thousand rubles (1 thousand Euro), but for 25-40 thousand rubles for drugs. Among other reasons for not using Art in Russia there are: lack of professionals – embryologists and clinicians, who cannot be trained in Russia – not a single institute or university offers such educational programme; total lack of production for domestic consumables, reagents and scientific and medical equipment of appropriate type.

Russian population definitely needs a law, defending reproductive rights of citizens.

    Science & Life
Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian science society health Russian medicine  

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