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Dodgy Spanish Sperm

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 27th May 2011

I was reading somewhere the other day that birth rate in Spain was appalingly low when compared to other European countries.

However, not only was the rate so low, but what little positive growth there was, was largely attributed to the immigrants from various nationalities who were raising families here in Spain.

Spainís birth rate rose to 1.37 per woman of child bearing age in 2007, its highest rate since 1991, but at that time was still among the lowest levels in Europe.

The rate would also have been far lower if it were not for the arrival of nearly 4 million mainly Latin American and North African immigrants since 2000 who tend to have larger families.

This has lead to concerns over an ageing population, which could lead to a massive drain on pensions and other associated resources. The Government even did their best to encourage the birth rate a few years back by creating a special 'baby bonus' which ran from the end of June 2007 until it was disbanded on New years eve of 2009. (I am familiar with the dates because my daughter was born three days prior to us being eleigible to claim the benefit of 2'500 Euros).

Whilst the 'baby bonus' did have a slight positive effect, it attracted critisism from extremists that it encouraged 'the wrong people to reproduce' - IE not the native Spanish.

Certain articles on the net even attribute this to the country not having a firm 'Family Planning Policy'.

Hang on ! - That doesn't make any sense : Wouldn't a lack of a 'family planning policy' encourage promiscuity and recklessness with contraception, thereby inadvertantly causing the birth rate to grow ? Moreso when you consider that Spain considers itself a Roman Catholic nation, a religion who isn't exactly known for embracing contraception of all forms ?

So that theory doesn't quite cut it for me.

Then again, there was an article in the (Spanish) media the other week claiming that the quality of Spanish semen was decreasing. This was put down to the diet and lifestyle of Spanish men in general, together with other factors such as lack of excersize, excessive smoking and drinking etc...

Seems a bit sexist to point the finger of blame at the Male of the species, though. I thought it took two partners to conceive ?

I'm not quite sure I want to know how quality is quantified here - or that I would be inclined to beleive whichever branch of whatever science would take responsibility for this kind of research.

I seriously doubt that the reasons are medical, more economical. My own theory is this :

A combination of strong family values and a religious state frowns upon children being born out of wedlock (Which I know from first hand experience). Furthermore, these austere times mean that money is so scarce that it is difficult for couples to set up home together easily. In many cases, if they are lucky, they can only get as far as scraping a deposit together by the time they are in their mid-thirties, by which time they are either unable to to afford to, disinclined to, or unable to have children.

From my experience with my daughter, I know that in her year at school there are 32 children - 11 of which have at least one Non-Spanish parent (and this is a quiet village, 20kms from the Costa - not exactly an 'expat enclave'). Also, almost all of the parents are mid to late thirties at the earliest.

The electoral register / census notes that 20 percent of the towns residents are immigrants, however, it seems that us immigrants are parents to 33 percent of the offspring. Quite an achievement when you consider that the majority of the expats / immigrants in the town are not of child-bearing age.

Comment on this Blog

Have you ever heard of condoms and anticonceptive pills? just lol People in spain wants just one child or none at all, due to their special lifestyle and now because of the great economical crisis, not really a mistery!
Lolboy - Wed, 17th Aug 2011

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