Due to the high cost of living and social pressure in South Korea, many women delay getting pregnant until they are in their 30s. However, getting pregnant can be more difficult. The government is working on this issue, but its measures so far have not changed the situation significantly. So women look for other ways. For example, freeze the eggs “for later”.

South Korea has suffered from a declining birth rate in recent years. Last year, the number of children per woman fell to her 0.81, her one of the lowest in the world. The main reason is the unstable income and high housing prices that young couples have to deal with. As a result, they decide to wait for children or not try at all. The average age of a woman who gave birth in 2021 was her 33.4.

South Korean women are increasingly resorting to egg freezing, according to Reuters. In 2021, 1,200 single women will have their eggs frozen, according to CHA Medical Center, one of South Korea’s largest fertility clinic chains. However, in 2019 there were only 600.

Lim Eun-young, a 34-year-old office worker, told Reuters that he decided to freeze his eggs because he could not start a family now because of the high cost. Thanks to this method, the egg “lifespan” is extended and the woman can be artificially inseminated later in life.

Plus, Lim only recently met her current partner, so it looks like she’s getting pregnant early.

So-yeon Jo, a 32-year-old nurse who visited a CHA clinic, speaks similarly. “Even if I were to get married and have children, I wouldn’t be able to provide him with the home environment in which I grew up,” she explains. We want the community to have better food.”

She is also currently single. Korean women don’t have to get married for egg freezing. However, Reuters added that sperm donation is conditional on marriage.

Expensive housing and an emphasis on education

When women talk about high financial costs, it means several problems. For example, South Korea is known for its quality education. This phenomenon is called “educational fever”. Parents want to give their children the best possible education, so they often choose expensive private schools and clubs.

So some young couples delay getting pregnant until they can afford to attend these schools. “We often hear from couples and TV shows how much it costs to raise a child in terms of education and other aspects.It all leads to fewer marriages and fewer children,” said Lim. talks about this topic.

Housing prices are another reason to postpone pregnancy. Young couples still have little savings, but at the same time feel the pressure of society to make owning a house or apartment a priority. In South Korea, it is believed to guarantee a stable life. In a survey conducted by Statista and Hankook Research, 83% of respondents said they felt the need to actually own a home rather than just rent it.

House prices vary greatly by location, but there are similar differences in fertility rates. A July study found that women in large cities, where housing costs are typically more expensive, have more children later in life than women living in areas with lower housing costs.

Al Jazeera reports that the average price of an apartment in Seoul has doubled in the last five years. For example, in the Eunpyeong district to the northwest of the city, the price of an average apartment of about 66 square meters is now over 900 million won, which is about 15.8 million crowns.

population aging

Due to the low fertility rate in South Korea, the aging rate of the population is increasing. By 2060, 40% of the population is expected to be over 65 years old. At the same time, British broadcaster BBC cites UN information that it predicts that South Korea’s population will peak around 2024 and then begin to decline.

The government is trying to resolve this situation, for example, by providing financial assistance to families with children. Starting next year, 700,000 won (approximately 12,300 crowns) will be donated for each family with a newborn. This amount will be increased to 1 million won later. The next step is to get parental leave from both parents at the same time.

All government measures to support fertility last year amounted to 821 billion crowns. However, it has not materialized so far, and the number of newborn children has not increased.

Video: Buildings collapse in South Korea’s Gwangju city

Nine people were killed when a five-story building suddenly collapsed on a crowded bus in Gwangju, South Korea. | | Video: Reuters

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