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RUSSIA'S BIRTH RATE GROWS, THOUGH NOT ENOUGH
MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti's commentator Olga Sobolevskaya) - "Every year 1,500,000 babies are born in Russia -- this dynamics has been increasing since 2000. But it is still not enough for normal reproduction of the Russian population", vice-president of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences Vladimir Kulakov told the RIA Novosti press conference on women's problems. He is the chief gynecologist-obstetrician at the Ministry for Health Protection and Social Development. The conference is held on eve of March 8, International Women's Day.
He said that the country needs another 700,000-800,000 newborns to reach the normal level of population reproduction. Meanwhile, of the 37.5 million Russia women of the reproductive age - between 15 and 45 years of age - up to 7 million are infertile. Annually, from 170,000 to 200,000 wishful pregnancies are lost in Russia. "Given sufficient state financing and due approach, the figure could have been reduced", Mr. Kulakov stressed. Physicians have all the necessary technologies to do so. "The state should put motherhood and childhood under protection", allocating larger sums for the treatment of infertility, help in pregnancy, he said.
Should a serious increase in the birth rate be hoped for? Evidently not. Out of the 10 million girls below 18 years of age only 10 to 15 percent are in good health. The incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is increasing.
It is more social than medicinal question. "Now, we have only 1.32 births per woman, while 2.2 is needed for the normal reproduction of population", said Anatoli Vishnevski, head of the Demography and Human Ecology Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In their reproductive behavior Russian women are approximating to European - births come at an older age.
The average age of women giving birth to the first child is now 26.3 years in Russia. Ten years ago it was 24.5 years. "Since 2002 women of twenty six years and over have for the first time been contributing more to the birth rate than younger mothers", Mr. Vishnevski noted.
Today's increase in the birth rate is very much due to the realization of put-off births, when women first make a career and reach wellbeing, after which they give births. Russian women are beginning to afford having two and even three children, Mr. Vishnevski said. It is yet premature to think if this as a tendency, he thinks.