May 16, 2022

Armenia takes drastic measures to reverse population decline

Testing 15-year-olds?

Not getting any younger in Armenia 

The tiny but fiercely distinctive and geo-politically strategic nation of Armenia is facing a demographic crisis. Its population is about 2.9 million, its fertility rate is about 1.6, far below replacement level, and the population is slowly shrinking.

The government is alarmed and launched some initiatives in March to reverse the trend — including testing the fertility of teenage girls.

According to Eurasianet, former President Serzh Sargsyan announced in 2017 a plan to increase the population to 4 million by 2040. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, promised to boost the population to 5 million by 2050.

The government has a three-point plan: “additional screening of 15-year-old girls, who are entering the age of fertility, to identify health problems and to prevent and cure infertility”; fertility check-ups for newly married couples; and prenatal exams to reduce the number of miscarriages.

There has been little comment in the media about the plan, it seems, although it raises issues of informed consent and gender-role stereotyping.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge  

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