Are people delaying having children because of the pandemic?

Illustration of a pregnant woman and a child

Family plans are postponed (Photo: Getty).

The pandemic ruined their plans for social life, work and travel.

And for some, the events of the past year have led to the decision to postpone starting a family.

Whether for economic reasons, to catch up, or simply because of the general state of the world, people postpone having children for posterity.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many were convinced that the blockade (and the extra time we have) would lead to a Covidian baby boom, but the opposite seems to be true.

Experts predict that the UK’s annual birth rate could fall to its lowest level since surveys began. This confirms the results of last year’s survey, which showed that 82% of respondents do not plan to become pregnant during a pandemic.

Harriet* is a person who deliberately postpones starting a family – even though she plans to do so in 2021.

She told the Met: My partner and I had planned to have a baby this year, but with everything that’s happened, we decided to wait until at least the world felt more normal (whatever that means) – both for us and for the baby.

I work as a freelancer in the media industry and my work is very precarious, with cuts on almost every title. I was fired for the third time in October and it’s too hard to give birth to a child when I don’t even know where my next paycheck will come from to pay my rent. Especially if I live in London.

Becoming a mother for the first time is a daunting prospect, even without a pandemic – I can’t imagine what pregnant women go through. Personally, I don’t think I can handle that on top of the uncertainty of being pregnant for the first time.

Harriet adds that the pandemic made her wonder if she wants to have children.

She says: It’s a very scary place right now.

All aspects of young people’s lives have been turned upside down and the consequences are not yet known. It’s the younger generation that’s going to suffer the most, and I don’t know if I want to fight that guilt.

an illustration of a family in a park

Some people think twice before starting a family at this stage (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto).

Izzy, who is 30 years old, is in no hurry to have children and – because of the events of the past year and the projects he has put on hold – wants to do something different in the meantime.

She says: I absolutely reject the idea of having children. With 30 and single, 2020 wasn’t really the year in which I would meet someone and start a relationship, and 2021 hasn’t been much better so far.

Personally, I want to enjoy being with someone, travelling and building a life together before I have children.

I always thought it would be like this in the early thirties, but Covid-19 certainly changed that.

So yes, before I think of the family, I will be selfish and give priority to youth and joy of life for a few years. What was 35 now probably looks more like the late ’30s, but who knows.

Read more: Messages

Some women have no choice but to postpone having children.

Hannah Noorish has been trying to have a baby for six years. In 2019 she decided to follow the path of egg donation with her boyfriend, who is a sperm donor.

She found a clinic in the United States and did all the tests, chose an egg donor and created several embryos.

Hannah said: In January 2020 I was about to fly out for an embryo transfer. Halfway through taking the medication to prepare my uterus for birth, I had an unexpected period. So this trip had to be postponed.

On the day in March, when I was scheduled for my first ultrasound to see if my uterine lining was thin enough to begin treatment, Trump announced that America had closed its borders to foreign visitors. И… You know the rest.

I spent a long time trying to get to the United States during the lockdown. It’s hard to get there under the best conditions. I have a little plan to go through Barbados, so I’m working on it.

It’s been brutal and incredibly stressful, but in a way I’m still positive.  I urgently need to get in touch with people in my situation who are trying to travel to the United States for infertility treatment (perhaps successfully?) – I feel like I need my tribe now.

* some names have been changed for reasons of anonymity *

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