It seemed that as soon as the pandemic lockdown was announced, the jokes and memes about ‘Covid-19’ babies began. As millions of men and women around the globe are in close proximity, it stands to reason that an increase in pregnancies would occur.
But is the coronavirus baby boom actually a reality?
DeMontfort University PhD researcher Sasha Loyal wanted to take a look at what conception during a pandemic actually means for millions of people, especially those who need fertility treatments and/or access to family planning services.
Sasha found that a high number of people were preventing or postponing contraception over worries about having children during this uncertain time
After all, rates of unemployment are at an all-time high in the UK, with the numbers expected to grow, and a massive recession is lurking on the horizon. In addition to the stress of money woes, many people are experiencing new levels of anxiety as the virus continues to spread around the world.
According to Sasha’s research, these factors have contributed to many women wanting to hold off on getting pregnant
She states, “feeling psychologically ‘ready’ before having children was also a significant consideration for women in my study, however mental health services have seen a significant increase in calls, with the pandemic impacting individuals’ sense of stability.”
It is currently uncertain whether pregnant women face a greater risk from coronavirus, but the UK government has classed them as ‘vulnerable’ as a precautionary measure.
There is currently no consensus about whether women should hold off on conception, but people have not been advised to stop trying for a baby
There may indeed be an increase in unplanned pregnancies as a result of limited availability to contraceptive options and medical services.
Of course, this is of no comfort for those whose fertility treatments have been placed on indefinite hold
“The suspension of fertility treatment has created a significantly distressing time for those who were just about to start or were in the middle of their journey of conceiving through assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs).” While the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has authorised the reopening of clinics back in May, in most cases NHS-funded treatments have not restarted. These postponements have created a lot of time pressure for older parents.
These factors make speculation of a so-called ‘baby boom’ not only insensitive but factually incorrect
Many people are choosing to postpone conception amidst uncertainty and anxiety, and those dealing with fertility issues can’t rely on a ‘baby boom’ to start or grow their family.
For people who need access to family planning services, this has been a baby bust, not a baby boom.
Have your fertility treatments been put on hold by Covid-19? Has your clinic or local NHS been transparent and open about your position on waiting lists, or do you feel like to are in the dark? We want to know about your experiences with the Coronavirus’ baby boom’ – join the conversation in the comment section.
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