Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today Inc.
I applaud your editorial dated April 14 entitled “The need to have more Bajan babies”. However, I would like to add a few points.
We need a cultural shift to bring back the “village”. These days, whenever two people get together and have a baby, many relatives will say, “Look at that foolish woman! I wonder how she expects to manage! She’d better not expect to bring that child at me!”
One would not get the idea that having children is a normal and natural biological process and necessary for our society.
(Worse yet, relatives may even place pressure on parents to do less than they should – I once heard a paternal grandmother ask why her son needed to buy pampers.) I strongly believe that we should teach school children safe contraceptive practices. However, I would also recommend teaching them about reproductive health. I am not a medical expert, but I understand that Black women are disproportionately affected by fibroids and other reproductive issues which only worsen with age.
Part of this may be related to lifestyle factors (as are so many other NCDs), but overall causes do not seem to have been identified. I believe that we should teach school children how to manage relationships – how to respect themselves and each other, and what it means to be parents.
We should also find a way to teach this to adults. Having practical and effective relationships and parenting classes for adults (both male and female) would likely not only increase family sizes but also reduce many problems in society.
We now have a limited-service fertility clinic at the QEH which is definitely a step in the right direction, and we have a world-class private facility at the Barbados Fertility Centre.
Persons will generally find money to do what they are highly motivated to do, but I would like to point out that in Israel, persons (including single women) are funded through the public health service for the full range of reproductive services up to and including surrogacy, pregnancy by sperm donation, and IVF.