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Swedish hospitals launch campaign touting early pregnancy

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Swedish hospitals launch campaign touting early pregnancy
12:23 CEST+02:00
Health authorities in southern Sweden are launching a public awareness campaign to encourage couples to have children sooner to combat the trend of women having their first child at an increasingly older age.

“If you start trying earlier, you increase your chances of becoming a parent,” said Aleksander Giwcerman, professor of andrology, at the Fertility Centre, Malmö University Hospital, to local paper Sydsvenskan.

According to statistics, 15 percent of all western couples are experiencing fertility problems, but Giwcerman said that the number is probably higher than that.

And according to him, the woman's age is a crucial factor.

“Many times we can't pinpoint the reason why a couple don't get pregnant, but we know that the average age of women having their first baby is increasing and that is very significant," he said to Sveriges Radio (SR).

According to Giwcerman, the average age for women to have children in Sweden has increased by about two years in the last decade and is now nearing thirty.

A woman's fertility starts diminishing already before the age of thirty and after 35 the decline is very quick.

Behind the project is the wish to inform the public of what they can do to increase their chances to have a baby.

“They need to know that it isn't certain that they succeed as soon as they decide that the time is right, but there are many things they can do to increase their chances. They can start earlier, and there are also many lifestyle choices that may make a difference," Giwcerman told SR.

The institutions behind the campaign also want to send a message to politicians that they need to make it more attractive for Swedes to have kids earlier on in life.

The new project is collaboration between Lund University, Copenhagen University hospital and the andrology department and fertility centre at the Skåne University hospital.

The Swedish side starts off with an information campaign aimed at the public, with an open house at the region's clinics at the end of May.

“We want to invite the public on a regular basis,” Giwcerman told Sydsvenskan.

On the Danish side there are plans to open a fertility assessment clinic to which couples can come and find out in advance how their chances to procreate are.

There they will be able to get answers to whether they should start trying right away or if they can afford to wait a few years, through blood tests, ultrasound, sperm tests and lifestyle analyses.

“You'll be able to get an assessment of your fertility as compared to your age. If you find out that you don't have a large egg reserve at 25 you might not want to wait too long,” Giwcerman said.

If the Danish clinic turns out a success, a Swedish equivalent may well be in the pipeline.

"We have spent a lot of time informing the public on how not to get pregnant, and now it seems that most young people today think that once the time feels right it will just work itself out," Giwcerman told SR.

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