Schröder told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper that starting April 2012 she'd like the government to pay for up to half of couples' insemination treatments, which can cost them up to €10,000 after just four pregnancy attempts.
State insurance plans used to pay for artificial insemination treatments. But since health coverage reforms in 2004, the plans have only covered half of the costs and only for up to three attempts, the FAZ reported.
“There's no policy in which the relationship between funding and outcome is so blatant,” she told the FAZ, citing statistics showing births in Germany using artificial insemination dropped from 17,000 to about 8,000 per year after the insurance support was halved. That put the number of Germans using the procedures well below European averages, she told the newspaper.
She said she envisioned a partnership between state and federal authorities to help fund the procedures. Initial costs for the plan would be around €40 million, she told the FAZ.
Schröder's push is part of a larger campaign to ease life for potential parents who would like to have children. The German government wants to boost the country's birthrate, as Germany's population is expected to implode in the coming decades.
Right now German women produce just 1.4 children on average, one of the lowest rates in the world. Statisticians now expect that the German population will plunge 21 percent to 65 million inhabitants by 2060.
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This would put immense pressure on Germany's welfare state, because the pool of working people would shrink while the number of retirees increases.