Looking for Gold? Have a Baby in Iran.

Illustration for article titled Looking for Gold? Have a Baby in Iran.

There aren't enough babies in Iran, so the government is swapping sponsored vasectomies for golden newborns. That's an exaggeration; but the government is thinking about giving families gold coins for their new babies to encourage an uptick in births. After producing condoms like candy in 1992, the country's population growth has dwindled significantly and if this trend continues, it may sink to zero in twenty years.

The Iranian government has already extended maternity leave to nine months and given men two weeks in paternity leave. But some think baiting people with shiny things in exchange for changing dirty diapers won't work.

"A gold coin won't change couples' calculations," said Mohammad Jalal Abbasi, head of Demographics Department at Tehran University. "Many young Iranians prefer to continue their studies, not marry. Lack of financial ability to buy a house and meet expenses are among other reasons why the youth postpone marriage or have no interest in raising many children."

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So is this population decline the result of Iran's women all deciding to lean in, or is it really due to societal problems?

Others point to Iran's economy, battered by Western sanctions over its contested nuclear program. Inflation stands at 36 percent, President Hassan Rouhani recently said. Unemployment officially stands at 12 percent, though some private experts suggest nearly one in three working-age Iranians is out of work.

If people can't pay their bills now, maybe they don't want to welcome a new mouth to feed.

Image via Rose Carson/Shutterstock.

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DISCUSSION

Stop the mothafucking press! Are you telling me that Iran — Iran*, a country ranked #88 on the "Quality of Life Index", compared to the US's #13 — offers nine months of maternity leave and two weeks of paternity leave? But I only got 8 weeks and Mr. Nom had to use vacation, despite working at a fancy research lab when we had a kid?! And we're on the super-lucky end of the spectrum when it comes to this kind of benefits package among the US workforce?!

* Not an attack on the nation of Iran, but for a country 75 spots behind us, you would think we wouldn't be so lacking in comparison.