Many Malaysian couples struggling to conceive
PETALING JAYA - Other than Malaysians shunning marriage or the prospects of raising more than one child, the other side of the coin is that there are also many Malaysian couples struggling to conceive.
After having her first son via in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, senior communications manager Hajar, 38, has been trying for a second child since 2017.
So far, Hajar and her spouse have spent RM36,000 (S$11,974) on IVF.
"My husband and I have always wanted kids. I wanted five children because I was one among five siblings.
"I'm trying to conceive again because ideally, I want to ensure the child I have now will not grow up alone and will have a lifetime companion," she said.
After giving birth to her first child, Hajar quit her full-time job to stay home for six months, then worked part-time for a year.
"It took a toll on our finances as I couldn't earn as much. But I returned to work after my son turned one," she said.
Hajar and her husband had saved some money for IVF purposes. If she is still unsuccessful at conceiving by 40, they will consider adoption.
Content writer Farzana, 32, has been trying to start a family with her husband for four years but has had no luck so far.
"I consulted my doctor this year and he said that my high level of work stress and punishing work schedule is affecting our chance to conceive.
"For the last few months, I have been following my doctor's advice to eat healthily and exercise.
"However, it is difficult for me to slow down at work as it demands most of my time and attention," said Farzana.
But she is not willing to quit her job as it is her passion.
"If we still fail to conceive in the near future, I will seriously consider going for IVF treatment," she said.
Lower birth rates and falling Total Fertility Rate (TFR) birth rates are key drivers of Malaysia's ageing population, and so are the results of higher education and late marriage, leading to couples having fewer children, stated a report by the Statistics Department in August 2017.
The TFR birth rates dipped from 32.4 in 1970 to 16.7 per 1,000 population in 2015, according to the department.
"As women gain higher education and better employment opportunities, the number of unmarried people eventually rises and this is a common phenomenon in industrialised countries.
"The effects of late marriage resulted in an increase in the mean age of mother at first birth from 26.6 in 2001 to 27.6 in 2015," it said.