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Babies made-in-India - 1. Fertility & Contraception

For starters, a small overview of childbirth and culture(s) in India...


india,birth,water birth,pregnancy,baby,infant,newborn,delivery,midwife,swaddling,swaddle,diaper,breastfeeding,hospital,fertility,contraception,sterilizationAt the beginning, I felt a little guilty of bringing into the world one more Indian (1): they are already so many... And they breed like rabbits, I thought! But not so much actually! The rabbits have seriously been controlling themselves in the past two decades...


Think of this: Indian women had 2.5 children each in 2012 – which is far from the 4.5 children they had just 20 years ago! (2) In fact the current rate is getting dangerously close to the minimum rate of 2.1 children per woman below which, without immigration and after a gap of thirty years, the population begins to decline.


Moreover almost all Indians I know have decided to have only one child because they want to "provide the best" for him and it is damn expensive to raise a child, with the education fares and all.


So how have they managed to change the trend? To start with, Indians have a radical enough, although controversial (because not always chosen freely) method: sterilization. And they don’t do things half way: 37% of married women are sterilized (for 1% of men)! Sterilization represents thus more than two-thirds of contraceptive means – and only one out of two couples today use a child birth control method.


There is a real lack of information: only 15% of the Indians between 15 and 24 have received some kind of sexual education. Not surprising when you know that the conservative parties (like the one currently running the country, whose leader (the Prime Minister) is incidentally not married lives without a female companion) have banned it in some States seven years ago, because sexual education would “give ideas to the youth”!


Among the (relatively few) couples who use a method of contraception that is not sterilization, the pill is not popular at all, even in cities – so that when I mention the pill to friends, it is common that they don’t know much about it. However, the i-pill is taking off quite fast; thanks to good marketing campaigns, girls swallow it as candy, ignoring (or choosing to ignore) its side effects.


(1) But in reality, technically, the baby is French since Indians do not recognize dual citizenship and a European passport has its charms... And he will have a PIO/OCI card, some sort of lifelong visa allowing him to buy and all.


(2) For reference, the French women have 2.0 children, the Chinese 1.7, the British and the American 1.9.




(To be continued...)

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