What’s behind recent fertility trends—government policy, alarms on biological clocks or lessons learned from childhood?

Fertility in Australia has risen since 2001. Some have attributed this to the universal Maternity Payment introduced with the 2004 budget, or to Treasurer Peter Costello’s call to parents to have three children, also made in 2004. But these interventions occurred after fertility had begun to rise. Moreover, qualitative interviews with 15 mothers in regional New South Wales show that they had had little effect on these women. Factors that did affect them included anxiety about beating the biological clock, the desire to have the number of children that their own childhood had taught them to prefer, and constraints such as lack of social support and fears about their inability to pay for the education of their children. Copyright. Monash University and the author/s