Academic, medical and public sector experts across the Asia Pacific region have contributed to an innovative toolkit designed to guide policy makers in addressing social and economic challenges associated with free-falling birth rates in APAC countries.

The toolkit is based on rigorous analysis of total fertility rate challenges to determine the effectiveness of different policy measures that can help slow down or reverse the slide in population numbers, which are at historically low levels.

Designed by Economist Impact, a global forum that helps to advance sustainable strategies and solutions to guide governments and business leaders, the Fertility Policy Toolkit covers specific family friendly categories including childcare, workplace reform, financial incentives for parenthood and improved access to assisted reproduction.

The toolkit, a key feature of a new Fertility Counts initiative, is being presented this week at the 2023 Congress of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE) in Adelaide, South Australia.

Emily Tiemann, lead author of the toolkit, said it was an evidence-based resource taking into account global data and differing socio-economic conditions in APAC countries.

The toolkit builds on socio-economic and birth rate research conducted in countries including Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

“We describe specific policy initiatives that are given a score based on trusted case studies and their impact on fertility rates along with separate indicators demonstrating expected economic outcomes of each policy,” Emily explained.

“The toolkit presents various policies in a user-friendly way, providing a menu of options that APAC countries can explore.

“Intended beneficiaries of the toolkit are those with the ability to influence, develop and implement policies and programs to improve fertility rates in the APAC region.

“It can be used by policymakers in their respective regions to support discussions on which approaches to fund and which actions are appropriate for their specific economies.

“Looking to the future, policy makers and other stakeholders need to think about early intervention as the impact of policies on fertility rates can take time to emerge. So, policy makers also need to retain a long-term investment mindset.

“There are commonalities in experience across the region, but also important national differences so different policies may be more impactful for particular economies.

“Family life needs to be supported at all levels to encourage parenthood and family life including pre-conception and childbirth stages and at the time of reintegration into the workforce.

“Stable family friendly policies include affordable housing and childcare and improved access and affordability of assisted reproduction.”

For more information on Fertility Counts and the Fertility Policy Toolkit, go to
Global leaders in assisted reproduction have gathered for the ASPIRE 2023 Congress at the Adelaide Convention Centre. ASPIRE, which embraces more than 20 countries throughout the Asia Pacific and beyond, is dedicated to improving access to and quality of services for the one in six couples striving to achieve parenthood.

Media Release, 7 September 2023