A groundbreaking study published in The Lancet reveals dramatic declines in global fertility rates, projecting significant transformations in global population dynamics by the year 2100.

The study of fertility trends and projections is essential for comprehending the intricate dynamics of social, economic, and geopolitical systems, both in the present and the foreseeable future. These trends play a pivotal role in the concept of demographic transition, which outlines the shift from high fertility and mortality rates to lower levels, leading to an aging population. Additionally, the notion of a demographic dividend suggests that declining fertility rates can temporarily increase the proportion of working-age adults, potentially fueling economic growth.

Recent data, however, indicates a concerning trend: in the five years preceding 2021, the total fertility rate (TFR) in some regions fell below replacement levels, with no indication of the expected rebound. The replacement level, typically set at a TFR of 2.1, is crucial for maintaining population stability without migration. Persistently low fertility rates can result in inverted population pyramids, with an increasing elderly population and a shrinking workforce, posing significant challenges to healthcare, social systems, labor markets, and resource utilisation.

Accurate fertility estimates and forecasts are indispensable for anticipating the economic and geopolitical implications of changing population structures. While the United Nations Population Division has been a prominent source of fertility data and projections, concerns have been raised regarding the validity of their assumptions, particularly in countries experiencing sustained low fertility rates. Past UN forecasts have often assumed an eventual increase in fertility rates, a trend not supported by recent data in certain regions.

Other organisations, such as the US Census Bureau and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, also provide fertility estimates and projections, but updates may not be as frequent or comprehensive. In recent years, the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) has emerged as a valuable resource, offering transparent methodologies and clear data on fertility estimates and forecasts.

The GBD 2021 study, in particular, presents past fertility estimates from 1950 to 2021 and forecasts up to 2100, incorporating methodological advancements to enhance accuracy and reliability. By utilising metrics such as completed cohort fertility at age 50 years (CCF50) and incorporating factors like female educational attainment and contraceptive met need, the study aims to provide policymakers with invaluable insights to inform future policies and address the profound changes in global fertility.

As we navigate the complexities of demographic transitions and their repercussions, it is imperative to leverage robust data and methodologies to guide informed decision-making and shape policies that promote sustainable development and equitable societies.

At Memphasys, we are thrilled to have Laureate Professor John Aitken, Scientific Director at Memphasy, Author of the The Infertility Trap as a key partner as we advance our business development efforts in the assisted reproduction and fertility market. Together, we aim to create a world-class portfolio of devices, diagnostics, and media products that address crucial issues in human and animal reproduction.

Our Felix™ device is the culmination of our ongoing collaboration with Professor John Aitken, a renowned figure in reproductive biology worldwide. The Felix™ device utilises Memphasys’ new sperm separation technology, which is now in commercial production and available for purchase in early adopting countries like Japan, Canada, and New Zealand. We are currently conducting clinical studies and preparing regulatory certifications for markets in China and Australia.