Along with cows milk and making phone calls to friends, having babies is passé.
Climate anxiety, all women hiking groups, not being bothered, the housing market, ID wars and Covid-19, have resulted in single western civilisation not getting much action, let alone procreating.
“But I had a third child during lockdown”, I hear a smug married person shout. “Yes, we know from social media, but this isn’t about you”.
It’s about declining birth rates in western countries in general. In Ireland, mothers went from having four children in 1965 to 1.75 in 2018. In Scotland, Germany, Italy and Spain birthrates stand at 1.3 – not enough to reproduce the population. On top of that, sperm counts amongst men have more than halved in between 1967 and 2017, scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem discovered.
It seems the reasons not to have children are endless. I asked the internet and some friends.
“Men” females said unequivocally. ‘They think they’ll live forever’ and ‘they don’t bring home the bacon’.
Next came women. They’re more picky, more educated, more career driven and more likely to participate in all-female activities.
Has anyone else noticed the marked increase in ‘women only’ city tours, running, cycling, climbing, sea swimming and trekking? Besides being confused as to why western women are segregating at this point, I wonder are they not shooting themselves in the fertility foot? Would an outdoor adventure in high altitude sleeping bags not be a great way to mate with a likeminded, compatible soul?
OK I’m being old fashioned by focusing on traditional family constructs, but until now, it’s the favoured way to reproduce. Times, are changing however and I’m hearing “they’re all pan these days”, from parents of teenagers. I’m glad I’m not there yet with my young one. “Heterosexual is out”, they say.
You don’t need men to procreate. Only this month, Spain’s health ministry signed an order to make free fertility treatment available for women regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status, as well as for transgender people who become pregnant. You can also order sperm via online sperm markets. That’s if you want to. I hear lockdowns had the opposite effect on many- who lost their desire for the opposite sex altogether, favouring tracksuits for date nights.
That could be a good thing, when our planet is burning in apocalyptic fires of hell and drowning in Biblical floods simultaneously. The doomsday prophecies about climate change have us all in a spin, with the younger generation bearing the brunt.
A recent survey published in The Lancet, conducted by AVAAZ, and the University of Bath, asked 10,000 young people around the world about climate anxiety. They found that four in 10 were hesitant to have children as a result of the climate crisis stating that governments were not doing enough to prevent a catastrophe.
This is why we need to lobby governments to stop giving oil and gas licences to fossil fuel companies. “Stop drilling and I’ll take less showers and curtail my short haul trips to Barcelona for the weekend”. “Show me your frugal and I’ll show you mine.”
There’s no denying it, frugality is big and getting bigger. Put away your superyachts, your home aquariums and your children. The era of excess is over. I know in some salubrious circles having lots of children is a status symbol, but soon it will be the stuff of shame. “You have how many?” Generations below my beloved Generation X love preaching and finger wagging, so if you like to treat yourself, await judgement day. “How can you afford them?” “Think of all the nappies, they’ll end up in Indonesia. What about their carbon footprint?”
They have a point, how can we afford children, but on the other hand, how can we not? As populations decrease, a new dystopian future could await. Another one you say.
Murray Edwards College in Cambridge, alongside consent and sexual harassment classes, fertility seminars are on the agenda. In the height of fourth wave liberation, equality and feminism, having children, women need to be ‘empowered’ into thinking about fertility. The irony that it’s a women’s college doesn’t escape.
Maybe we need to stop preaching and overthinking and let instinct take over. We live in confusing times. Do we save the planet or ourselves or both? In order to save civilisation from the brink of collapse, we need to take one for the team.

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