Utne Blogs > Science and Technology

Test-Tube Babies for Fun and Profit

by Rachel Levitt

Tags: Science and Technology, health, population, Europe, economy, in vitro fertilization, IVF, reproductive technology, ScienceDaily, Rand Corporation,

In a bid to help reverse Europe’s serious population decline, Swedish medical student Anders Svensson recently wrote an academic thesis on the financial benefits of state-subsidized in vitro fertilization, Science Daily reports. The idea may seem odd, but Svensson isn’t the first to make the connection between IVF and the economy. Last year the Rand Corporation published a study calculating the costs and benefits of such an initiative and found that the government would theoretically turn a significant profit on its investment in the form of taxes paid by the individual throughout his or her lifetime.

Europe’s dwindling population is currently threatening many state-maintained support programs like Social Security and health care. If the birth rate doesn’t increase soon, children may be increasingly forced to support the aging European population, which by 2050 will have an estimated one in three people over the age of 65. With that responsibility looming, Svensson and others believe that investing government money in IVF programs and technology could help spur future economic growth, as well as improve the morale of thousands of couples who are involuntarily childless.