In the 1960s, one could be forgiven for believing that population growth, then exponential, would portend the end of the human race, just as modelling of flies growing in a bottle with limited resources had demonstrated.

The availability of fertility control for people around the world became a welcome solution to achieve zero population growth. However, what was unforeseen in an evolutionary perspective was widespread reduced total fertility rates (TFR) around the world, and in many
countries of the Asia Pacific region.

In these countries, the TFR is now below the population replacement rate, regarded as 2.1 – that is, one child to replace the mother, one to succeed the father, and 0.1 to compensate for childhood and other reproductive mortality.

Falling TFR levels create massive economic problems for societies, and this is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. We are all stakeholders in this challenge.

There are at least four evidence-based interventions that can reverse the disturbing trend. The first three are socio-political – particularly regarding subsidised childcare services; more flexible workplace policies, including maternity and paternity leave; and financial incentives to build families – while the fourth relates to improved access to and affordability of assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

This problem is new to humankind. It is solvable, but it will require political and medical resolve over a prolonged period to reverse what is perhaps the most significant threat to life as we know it.

ASPIRE will champion a unique reform blueprint to advance family friendly policies and arrest falling birth rates across the Asia Pacific. It has endorsed Fertility Counts, an initiative supported by Merck and developed in collaboration with The Economist Update, a global forum that helps advance sustainable strategies to guide governments and corporate leaders.

Join us in-person or on-line to discuss the critical issues surrounding fertility in our region, and what can and should be done.

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View speakers’ biographies here