MADRID’S regional premier has unveiled ambitious new plans to encourage more women to have children in a bid to reverse Spain’s falling birth rates.

Isabel Ayuso, the regional president from the right wing Popular Party (PP) announced a €4.5billion fertility plan that would see the age limit for state-assisted IVF raised from 40 to 45 years.

It will also allow those women who already have child to seek IVF through the public health system as part of a wider plan to tackle the capital’s ‘demographic challenge’.

Ayuso also hinted at further measures designed to address the family/work balance.

 The Fertility Plan will include 80 measures and will be unveiled in full on January 26, Ayuso said.

 As well as raising the age for women to seek IVF on the public health system, she said that public hospitals would expand the number of IVF attempts allowed from two to four per woman.

Two new IVF units will be created with the Community of Madrid as well as the first egg donation bank in the capital.

Ayuso said efforts would also be made to speed up the waiting list process which currently runs from between two to four years, depending on the hospital.

“Each person will be able choose the centre among the seven currently available, with a single shared waiting list,” Ayuso told journalists at the Nueva Economia Forum breakfast event at Madrid’s Ritz on Monday.

Waiting times from the first checkup to the actual IVF treatment currently vary from two to four years depending on the Madrid hospital. 

Other measures will include tax breaks for new parents, flexible working hours and monthly payments of up to €500 for mothers under the age of 30 with an annual income less than €30,000.

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