SINGAPORE - Voluntary welfare organisation I Love Children (ILC) on Sunday (Sept 30) announced plans to conduct a study on Singapore's low total fertility rate.
This announcement follows the release of an annual population report last Thursday, which showed that Singapore's total fertility rate fell to a seven-year low of 1.16 last year, far below the replacement rate of 2.1.
In a press release, ILC said it has identified several areas to target in the study. These include fertility health awareness, changing mindsets on fertility treatments, making fertility treatments more accessible and affordable, as well as how recognising infertility as a disease might affect issues such as insurance.
As part of the study, ILC will also research different methods of fertility treatments, including the subsidies available and waiting times at both public and private hospitals.
The president of ILC, Mrs Joni Ong, 58, says: "With the recent news of our low total fertility rate, it makes sense to share that ILC is embarking on this study. We invite key stakeholders, organisations, communities and couples with their own stories to come forward, share your insights and take part in this conversation."
She adds that ILC plans to speak with as many couples as possible, as well as gather insights from experts like doctors and sociologists, and engage with private sector and government representatives.
One in five married couples here, she notes, is affected by fertility issues.
"We have heard so many stories of couples facing issues with conception and we believe this is a nationwide issue. So we hope this study will identify the challenges regarding conception and explore possible solutions."
ILC has been running the annual Know Your Fertility Wellness campaign for the last three years, to educate the public about the importance of fertility health.
This year's campaign, which ran in September, involved 200 fertility health checks given to couples, as well as a roadshow with fertility-related talks by experts.
An interactive vending kiosk was also launched to dispense information related to topics such as fertility, finances and work-life matters to tertiary students.
This kiosk was spotted at Nanyang Technological University from Aug 28 to last Wednesday, and at the Singapore University of Technology and Design from last Friday.
ILC's free-roaming Truck-on-the-Go, another new initiative which educates visitors on managing one's finances and understanding fertility issues, also appeared at Century Square mall on Sept 14, and at Hillion Mall last Saturday. It will make stops at more areas in October and November.