Men play the dominant role when it comes to making decisions about planned parenthood, social and medical experts said.
"In recent years, birthrate research conducted in the US has been focusing on men instead of women, because studies show that men's willingness to reproduce is the key to parenthood," said Joyce Feng (馮燕), vice president of the Child Welfare League Foundation.
In a seminar held by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and a Chinese-language parenting magazine yesterday, experts discussed the factors behind the drastic birthrate decline in Taiwan.
According to the MOI, the current birth rate is 1.24 per woman.
In a survey conducted by the magazine, 18.9 percent of female respondents said they did not wish to have children of their own, while 34.6 percent of male respondents said the same.
Wu Wen-hao (吳文豪), chairman of Child Health Promotion Society (中華民國兒童保健協會), stated that high standards of education, people marrying at a late age, increased female participation in labor market and the high costs associated with parenting contribute to the low birthrate.
"People who are going through academic pursuits are not inclined to have children. Therefore, the increased level of education delays the process of childbirth," Wu said.
Hsieh Ai-ling (謝愛齡), director of the ministry's Population Administration Department, pointed out that men who do house chores react more positively to parenthood.
"According to a study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, men who are more interested in doing house chores are more likely to have children," Hsieh said.
Soong Yung-kuei (宋永魁), deputy superintendent of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, said the variety of available contraception measures is one of the factors resulting in low birthrates.
"Generally, infertility is not a very serious issue in Taiwan, and the costs associated with artificial insemination are reasonable according to international rates. However, the prevalence of birth control measures makes the decision not to have children easy," Soong said.
According to Soong, due to the increased education levels among Taiwanese women, the favorable ages to have children are pushed back to between 30 and 34.