PUTRAJAYA, Nov 21 — A National Subfertility Centre, which will be the first in Malaysia, will be built in Shah Alam, Selangor, next year, as part of the effort to deal with the issue of the declining fertility rate in the country’s population.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the centre, to be built at a cost of RM171 million is expected to be operational in 2029.
She said the centre will provide comprehensive fertility treatment and family well-being services, including functioning as a coordination centre for research with the latest treatment technology and specialist training in Malaysia.
According to her, the current subfertility treatment services offered at the subfertility clinic of the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) can no longer meet demand.
“If the fertility rate continues to decrease at the current rate and no intervention is taken to deal with this situation, the country’s population is expected to reach a maximum number of 46 million people in 2071 before experiencing population shrinkage the following year,” she told reporters after opening the 2023 National Population Conference (PERKKS 23) here today.
Nancy said the construction of the centre had been approved in the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK12) and considered the project timely given the alarming decline in the fertility rate from 6.7 children per woman in 1957 to only 1.6 children per woman in 2022.
It is the lowest rate ever recorded, she said, adding that the decreasing fertility rate will accelerate the ageing process of the population.
“This is expected to make Malaysia an ageing in 2044 when 15 per cent of the entire population is 60 years old and above,” she said.
When asked about the main factor in the decline in fertility rate, Nancy said late marriage also contributed to it, as well as economic factors, including women who are ambitious and career-minded, as well as picky with their choice of partners, and some even choose to help and take care of family members.
At the event, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between LPPKN and MERCK Malaysia, a science and technology company, where MERCK gets to share expertise and technology with LPPKN, especially in relation to fertility, family planning and subfertility.
Regarding PERKKS 2023, Nancy said a special round table discussion was held to produce a resolution containing policy proposals and intervention measures to deal with the issue of the declining fertility rate of the national population.