5

Chapter

t
We wan
to get
rr ie d earlier We
ma w
to h ant
a
one ve
mo
re
chi
ld

Fostering a Supportive
Environment for our

People to
Form and
Raise Families

37

the Council will continue to 3% 17% 23.Chapter 3 5 Fostering a Supportive Environment for our People to Form and Raise Families 5.2 As in other Asian economies such as Japan. The Council will also relaunch the never married marriage for women first child born within women aged 40-44 three years of “Family-Friendly Employers Award Scheme” to marriage encourage family-friendly workplace practices. An evolving labour market. These trends have also contributed to Hong Kong’s low fertility rate.9 90% 70% years years advocate families as a main driver for social harmony old old through the “Happy Family Campaign” and “Happy The percentage of Median age at first The percentage of Family Info Hub”.2. families are crucial to our economic and social well-being.9 28.the work of Family Council The Family Council was set up in 2007 to provide a high- level platform for promoting a culture of loving families in 1981 2011 1981 2011 1981 2011 the community. 5. In women defer having children until they are in their 2011.1 As the building blocks of society. children contrary to their wishes. the increasing participation of women in the workforce. Attitude and Practice Kong is marked by decreasing marriage rates and a in Hong Kong 2012 commissioned by the Hong tendency to postpone marriage and childbearing. The Survey on Singapore and Taiwan. In addition. many simply run out of time and end up with three years of marriage. compared with 23. A woman's fertility starts to decline in Why are Women Having Fewer her 30s and this decline accelerates after her Children? mid-30s. only 70% of first children were born within 30s. only one child or childless. In 2013-14. women become less fertile the older they grow. up from 3% in 1981.3 Delayed marriage shortens the childbearing period.9 in could only produce 1. One consequence of this is that many more women remain childless or have fewer 5. down from 90% in 1981. The problem is that when 2011.9 three decades ago. Kong Family Planning Association (KAP Survey The percentage of never married women aged 2012) showed that more than half of the women 40-44 was 17% in 2011. 38 . the growing prevalence of childless families and a rise in divorces are changing the face of local families. Box 5. the low fertility rate in Hong Family Planning Knowledge. Our polled wanted to have two children but in reality median age at first marriage for women was 28.1 Promoting family core values .

What opportunity cost of childbearing (such as paid parental seems certain is that considerations about the leave.5. While these satisfactory .24 and changes in values and beliefs are likely to have 1. unequal share of childcaring have adopted family support policies largely driven by responsibilities between genders and the growing fertility concerns. cash allowance to help meet direct costs responsibility” and “heavy financial burden” are the of pregnancy.5 Young couples face a number of everyday practical replacement level of 2.1.2 childbearing and lower numbers of children being How do other countries respond to born. 39 . countries such as Denmark and Sweden stand out from others. But the response has been less than acceptance of childless families.9% and 3.20 in 2011 respectively. their growing aspirations to be economically active. with fertility rates returning close to the 5. some Northern European context.) and other benefits to reduce the to have children. The in 2011 suggested that policies that reduce the same survey also found that the higher the opportunity cost of having children seem to have a education and income level. culture. Korea and Singapore raising children. public spending on family benefits accounted balance parenthood and career against Hong for 3. assisted reproductive technology two main concerns cited by those who did not want treatment etc. Family support policies in overseas countries usually take the form of direct subsidies or allowances (such as 5. in addition to the need to Sweden. subsidised childcare and after-school care. help women combine career and family seem to have the These include difficulties finding affordable unintended effect of raising fertility levels. social and financial costs of having and raising family-friendly workplace practices including flexible children play a key role in the decisions of Hong working hours).75% of their GDPs in 2009. the higher the greater influence on fertility than direct financial proportion of female respondents without children. while their tax Kong’s highly competitive and demanding work to GDP ratio was close to 50%.4 A wide range of factors are contributing to later Box 5. or more than one child. But positive housing as well as suitable and quality childcare policy outcomes come at a high cost.fertility rates remain low at 1.6 The KAP Survey 2012 revealed that “too much tax deduction.39. A study by the think tank RAND Europe Kong’s couples of whether to have children. These include the higher educational low fertility rates? attainment of women. 1. incentives. the psycho-social stress in Asian countries such as Japan. other factors are obviously at work in Hong Kong’s Among OECD countries. contributed to lower fertility and later childbirth. In Denmark and and education services. Policies in these countries that issues when they contemplate having children.

in light of other competing policy and livelihood issues. and the need to self-financing basis. The current questions on the relevance of overseas measures subsidised charges for each IVF cycle range from $4. In early 2013. Public views are bound to to $12. There are also (PWH) and Queen Mary Hospital (QMH). 30 5. Private sector Of the existing 41 private licensed ART centres. IVF treatment is available in three ART centres.000 and packages for IVF procedures cost considered that financial incentives and from $65. investigation and burden on taxpayers and employers. with substantial resources on measures to raise fertility shorter waiting times but at higher charges. the appropriate treatment for infertile couples. family-friendly measures would increase their desire to have children. The individuals. the question of childbirth is a Public sector family matter that should not involve government At present. IVF and embryo transfers. the SCPP considers that Hong Kong Family Planning Association a more supportive environment for forming and raising families should be explored. What? Technology (ART) in Hong Kong 5. Others doubt Insemination by Husband (AIH) and In-vitro fertilization the effectiveness of pro-birth policies or family (IVF). in view of the namely Kwong Wah Hospital. mainly Artificial be shifted to taxpayers or employers. 40 . Government’s other more pressing spending FPAHK started to offer AIH treatment to couples on a priorities due to ageing population.000 in Hong Kong’s context.Chapter 5 Fostering a Supportive Environment for our People to Form and Raise Families Box 5.8 The SCPP agrees that the Government should not provide AIH treatment and 11 offer services such as interfere with the childbearing decisions of sperm washing. maintain a low tax regime.000 to $16.7 To some people. Prince of Wales Hospital mixed results achieved elsewhere. But this (FPAHK) should be balanced against the additional financial FPAHK provides clinical assessment. Self-financing patients can receive services be diverse as to whether we should spend offered by the two Universities at PWH and QMH. support measures in raising fertility.000. Noting from the KAP Survey 2012 that estimated charges for one cycle of AIH range from significantly more respondents than before $8. Some also consider that child caring treatment services at nine public hospitals to legally is a family responsibility and the burden should not married couples aged under 40. the Hospital Authority provides infertility intervention.000.000 to $100.3 Should Government Do More to Provision of Assisted Reproductive Raise Birth Rates? If Yes.

hk/fpahk/zh/press/press/20130521-press-chi pdf&product_id=FA100090&lang=1 .org/social/family/database Commission) www.org/social/family/doingbetter pdf&product_id=B1130303&lang=1 (Chapter 2) OECD (2012).Your views sought Would the following measures be effective to help people form and raise families? If yes.famplan.jsp?file=B11303032013AN13B0100.gov. paid parental leave. RAND _e.gov. Attitude and Practice (KAP) in Statistics Department Hong Kong Survey 2012 (PowerPoint available in Chinese only) www.familycouncil. www. subsidised childcare and after-school care services) • family-friendly workplace practices (e.gov. Fertility and Family Conditions.pptx Statistics on Marriage.hk/fd.jsp OECD (2011). Doing Better for Families www.women.is there still reason to worry?”.hk/hkstat/sub/gender/marr_fert_and_family _con/index. flexible working hours and home office) • raising public awareness on the implications of delayed marriage and childbearing on fertility How should the cost of such measures be met and shared among general taxpayers. OECD.oecd. OECD Family Database.gov.pdf Europe www. www. Census and Family Planning Knowledge. Paris Hong Kong Women in Figures 2011 (published by Women's www.org. 1981 to 2011.oecd. Census Family Council and Statistics Department www.org/pubs/monographs/MG1080.gov.rand.censtatd.g.famplan.censtatd.org.html#abstract The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong www.hk/ www.hk/download/library/report/HK_Women2011 “Low fertility in Europe . to what extent? • direct subsidy or allowance to help meet pregnancy expenses • improved access to ART treatment • family benefits or services (e.jsp?file=B71211FB2012XXXXB0100. employers and employees? What can we do to help young couples overcome the major hurdles of affordable housing. education and childcare? Links for further information The Fertility Trend in Hong Kong.hk 41 .hk/fd.g.censtatd.