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Why is IVF so popular in Denmark?

Europe Europe Why is IVF so popular in Denmark?

Pia Crone Christensen and daughter Sara,
Image caption Pia Crone Christensen and daughter Sara, born from IVF and donor sperm

Despite previous attempts to limit access to treatment, Denmark now has the biggest proportion of babies born through assisted reproductive technology (ART) in the world.

Visit any park in Denmark and the chances are many of the children playing there were born using IVF or donor sperm. Denmark leads the world in the use of ART to build families - an estimated 10% of all births involve such techniques.

Everyone in Denmark knows someone who has gone through IVF and talking about it is no taboo - chats at the schools gates or even church frequently revolve around the origins of people's children.

Pia Crone Cristensen - mother to two-year-old Sara, thanks to IVF and donor sperm - is one of a growing number of single women making use of Denmark's liberal IVF rules. After failing to find a suitable partner to father her children, she decided to go it alone, when she was 39.

"I think it's great that women finally have the upper hand - we can choose to become pregnant if we want to. I think that the problem is not necessarily that women don't want the men but that the men don't want to commit to having ch ildren. It's either doing it solo or not having children at all.

"I was lucky to become pregnant in the first round of the IVF. I remember giving birth and was just so grateful. I sat in the chapel of the hospital crying. I just needed to be grateful somewhere.

"People are very open about it. I went to a baptism not too long ago and I guess because people know that I got Sara the way I did, they were telling me, 'Oh, we're trying for another baby. You know, we got this one with IVF and we're trying again.' You don't necessarily have to be very close to have that conversation."

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

  • An egg is removed from the woman's ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory
  • The fertilised egg is then returned to the woman's womb to develop
  • IVF worked for the first time on 10 November 1977. On 25 July 1978, the world's first IVF baby, Louise Brown , was born
  • On average, IVF fails 70% of the time
  • The highest success rates are for women under 35, one-third of treatment cycles are successful
  • On average, it takes almost four-and-a-half years to conceive with IVF

Source: Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority/Fertility Network UK

The birth of Troels Renard Østbjerg in 1983 marked the start of Denmark's journey from just another developed country trying to make the fledgling technology work better to becoming the world record holder for ART births.

Today, only Israel challenges Denmark's IVF crown. It has far more cycles of IVF per million inhabitants - about 5,000 compared with Denmark's 2,700. But a much lower natural birth rate and higher IVF success rate means that Denmark wins on the proportion of babies in the population born thanks to reproductive technology.

Prof Claus Yding Anderson, at Copenhagen's University Hospital, was part of the t eam that bought IVF to Denmark. He attributes its popularity to generous state funding.

"It reflects that we have a public health care system that is paying. Anything which is treatment in Denmark is free, full stop.

Image caption Prof Claus Yding Anderson says IVF's popularity is largely due to Denmark's generous state provision

"We had this national discussion that the public health care system takes care of a nose which is bending to one side, or ears which [stick out], where basically you are not sick, so it was pretty straightforward to say, 'Well of course we need to include IVF.'

"Money doesn't grow on trees in Denmark but this is the Scandinavian system. Everybody is willing to pay a lot i n tax but everybody is benefiting."

Find out more:

Image copyright Science Photo Library

The Changing Face of Procreation was broadcast on the BBC World Service.

Click here to listen to the first part and here to listen to the second part. Or you can download the programmes via the BBC World Service Documentary podcast.

Dr Sebastian Mohr, from Sweden's Karlstad University, has followed the growth of reproductive technology,

"Denmark has reproduced itself as a certain kind of nation. The state financing it, the people using it, the medical professionals lobbying around it - reproduction has become a national project rather than just a project of the individual."

But he points out that along with generous state funding comes state control of a ccess to IVF.

Detailed criteria are not published but only people deemed to be "fit parents" are approved. Women over 40 don't get state-funded treatment and those over 45 are also barred from accessing IVF privately.

Dr Mohr argues that the decision-making process should be more public. He is investigating records of IVF funding decisions and says he has seen evidence that people who are considered "too disabled" are denied state funding.

It didn't used to be this way. During the 1980s and 1990s, IVF and other reproductive technologies went largely unregulated in Denmark. Doctors decided who should get treatment, initially only offering heterosexual couples the chance to conceive.

However, private clinics were free to treat anyone, and anything was possible: surrogacy (now banned in Denmark), IVF using donor sperm, and access for lesbian women.

IVF became controversial. Radical feminists complained that it meant medical ly trained men were commodifying women's bodies, while social conservatives also objected to the technology.

But in 1997 the government passed the Act on Artificial Fertilisation. Single women and lesbians - who for years had been able to pay for IVF and donor insemination - were now barred.

Image caption Denmark is now home to the world's largest sperm bank, run by Cryos International

The new legislation sparked a fight for equality of access - but in the meantime, others spotted a loophole.

The law only banned doctors from carrying out the procedures, which led to a boom in specialist midwife-led clinics.

One such facility, the StorkKlinic, named after its midwife founder Nina Stork, became a big draw for single and lesbian women from across Europe wanting to start families. Just 5% of its clients today are Danish.

"The law opened up the possibility for entrepreneurs to establish a clinic where people could use these services even though the actual intention of the law was to exclude people," says Dr Mohr. "These clinics showed that it could be done responsibly."

In 2007 the current ART law was passed, granting access to state-funded IVF regardless of a woman's marital status or sexuality.

It marks Denmark out as one of the most permissive countries in the world in terms of who can get IVF and the decades of debate have moulded Danish society into one in which most people support the government's position.

The fertility industry is now one of Denmark's most successful exports and the country is is also home to the world's biggest sperm bank, Cryos International, which deals with customers around the world.

However, as the number of Danish women accessing IVF and insemination to have children has grown, so has the backlash.

Rasmus Ulstrup Larsen say that last year he was the most hated man in Copenhagen.

Image caption Rasmus Ulstrup Larsen wrote an article complaining about the rise of "solo-mums" in Denmark

A 28-year-old high school economics teacher, he has become the unlikely figurehead for a section of Danish society that remains deeply unsettled by the social changes brought about by Denmark's liberal assisted reproduction laws.

In particular, some worry about the growing number of single women, such as Pia Crone Christensen, having children.

In 2017, Mr Larsen gained notoriety with a newspaper article that called solo mums &quo t;a horrible modern phenomenon" (in Danish).

"This increase of solo mums is a result of a sociological evolution. We see here in Denmark an individualistic ethics of self-realisation. It's the same as the high divorce rate. It's the same kind of culture that cultivates both things.

"We need more common goals, a more shared way of living instead of this individualistic way of perceiving life."

But he accepts he's fighting a losing battle.

Increasing numbers of single Danish women are having babies with donor sperm. The proportion of babies born in Denmark thanks to reproductive technology is steadily rising.

And as long as Denmark's fertility rate stays low, the government is likely to keep supporting treatment that helps the population to grow.

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Source: Google News Denmark | Netizen 24 Denmark

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Opposition Is Growing in Denmark Against an 'Anti-Muslim' Plan to Make New Citizens Shake Hands

Resistance is mounting against a proposal by Denmark’s ruling right-wing coalition to require a handshake as part of a citizenship naturalization ceremony, a provision critics say deliberately targets Muslims, some of whom prefer to place a hand on their chest instead for religious reasons.

The Guardian reports that if the measure passes in parliament, several Danish mayors have vowed to ignore it.

“It’s absurd that the immigration minister thinks this is an important thing to spend time on,” Kasper Ejsing Olesen, the mayor of the central town of Kerteminde, told the Guardian. “Shaking hands does not show if you are integrated or not.”

According to a new poll published on Thursday, 52% of those surveyed disagree with the mandatory handshake rule, but the measure h as gained traction among hardliners.

Several incidents involving Muslim migrants refusing handshakes have cropped up this year in Europe, according to the Guardian. An Algerian woman was denied citizenship in France this year for refusing to shake hands with male officials, a decision backed by the country’s highest court. A similar incident in Switzerland also cost a Muslim couple their citizenship last month, while a woman in Sweden won compensation after a prospective male employer broke off a job interview after she refused to shake his hand.

“A handshake is how we greet each other in Denmark,” said Inger Støjberg, the country’s immigration minister said this month. “It’s the way we show respect for each other in this country.”

The measure making handshakes mandatory is part of larger citizenship bill put forth by parliament, under which applicants pledge to uphold Danish values and “act respectfully towards representatives of the authorities.”

“The package includes a ceremony at which you make a statement of loyalty and shake hands,” said Naser Khader, conservative party spokesman, this month. “Some people would give their right arm for citizenship. I’m sure they’d also give their hand.”

Among other increasing hardline immigration policies, Denmark in January tightened its border to stem the inflow of migrants, and in June became the latest European country to ban burqas and niqabs.

Source: Google News Denmark | Netizen 24 Denmark

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Posted by On 4:03 PM

Ed Sheeran to Denmark for Odense concert

Production company Down The Drain confirmed the concert in a press statement Thursday.

The British singer, whose hits include "Shape of You", "Castle on the Hill" and "Happier", will appear in the Danish third city on July 28th next in what will be his largest-ever concert in Denmark.

The concert, which will have a capacity of 43,000, will also be the largest ever held at Tusindårsskoven, according to the press statement.

Sheeran will play across Europe next summer, including in France, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Russia and Iceland, as part of his Divide tour.

The singer was last year awarded an MBE, an honour presented by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II for outstanding contributions to the arts and sciences, charitable and welfare organisations or public service.

He has also won four Grammy awards.

Sheeran has played in Denmark four times previously â€" including twice in Copenhagen and once in Herning, as well as for the final of the Danish franchise of television series X-Factor.

READ ALSO: The ten best non-Danish songs about Denmark

Source: Google News Denmark | Netizen 24 Denmark

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Posted by On 4:03 PM

Danske Bank's money-laundering scandalDenmark's biggest bank reports on its Estonian shambles

Danske Bank’s money-laundering scandalDenmark’s biggest bank reports on its Estonian shambles

Anti-crime procedures were in questionable shape

print-edition iconPrint edition | Finance and economics

“THE bank has clearly failed to live up to its responsibility,” said Ole Andersen, chairman of Danske Bank, on September 19th. Well, indeed. The findings of an inquiry into the laundering of money, much of it from Russia, through Danske’s Estonian branch are sobering. The euro amount rinsed through the branch’s books runs to 12 digits and Danske missed chance after chance to stop the sluice. To no one’s surprise its chief executive, Thomas Borgen, has resigned.

Denma rk’s biggest bank had already admitted doing too little to prevent the abuse of its branch between 2007, when it bought Finland’s Sampo Bank, the unit’s owner, and 2015. An 87-page report by Bruun & Hjejle, a law firm, both tries to quantify the suspicious activity and traces how Danske’s anti-laundering procedures went so catastrophically wrong.

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The main conduit was the branch’s “non-resident portfolio”, comprising about 10,000 accounts, of which 3,000-4,00 0 were open at any one time. The branch also housed another 5,000 non-residents’ accounts. Starting with the fishiest, the investigators have examined 6,200 accounts and deem “the vast majority” to be suspicious. By contrast, the branch had reported only 760 clients to the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Estonian police division dealing with financial crime. The investigators have identified 177 customersâ€"mostly partnerships registered in Britain or well-known tax havensâ€"potentially involved in the “Russian Laundromat”, a vast fraud exposed by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a group of investigative journalists.

Mere suspicion, of course, proves nothing. As the investigators did not sift the 9.5m transactions on the 15,000 accounts, they cannot say how much was laundered. But by any reasonable guess, the sum is staggering: €200bn ($234bn at current exchange rates), mostly in euros and dollars, flowed through the accounts, 23% of it from R ussia. “It is expected that a large part of the payments were suspicious,” the report drily concludes.

Chances to clean up went begging almost from the day Danske bought Sampo. In 2007 the Estonian authorities found flaws in Sampo’s procedures, and the Russian central bank told Danish supervisors that non-resident customers “permanently participate” in transactions intended to avoid taxes and customs payments, or to launder money to the tune of “billions of roubles monthly”. The next year Danske dropped, on cost grounds, a plan to bring its Baltic subsidiaries onto its group information-technology platform.

In 2013 a correspondent bank clearing dollar transactions from the branch (J.P. Morgan, says the Financial Times), ended the relationship. That December an employee in Estonia blew the whistle; soon afterwards internal auditors pointed out weaknesses in anti-money-laundering practices. Even then Danske believed any problems were being fixed and misjudged their scale. Only in 2015 did the bank begin a “proper run-off” of the non-resident portfolio, the report says. The last accounts were closed in early 2016.

Contrite, Danske is giving its gross income from the branch over the nine years, DKr1.5bn ($235m), to a fund to fight financial crime. But what took it so long to spot trouble? Managers and systems failed at pretty much every level, from Tallinn to Copenhagen. The branch was allowed too much independence, partly because it was small, accounting for only 0.5% of Danske’s assets. But it was also highly profitable, making a return on allocated capital of 60% in 2013, when the Lithuanian branch earned only 16% and the Latvian one 7%. That should have rung bells. Employees may have colluded with crooks: the bank has reported eight to Estonian police.

Danske’s is just the most spectacular of a string of money-laundering scandals afflicting Europe from the Mediterranean to the Baltic. This month ING, a Dut ch bank, was fined €775m; its chief financial officer lost his job. The European Commission recently proposed giving the European Banking Authority, a supervisor, more power to co-ordinate national authorities and even to compel them to start investigations. Tighter controls cannot come too soon.

Source: Google News Denmark | Netizen 24 Denmark

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Posted by On 4:03 PM

Denmark's 'The Guilty', A Sundance Winner, Submitted For Oscar Race

UPDATED with additional release date info: Gustav Möller’s , which won this year’s Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Audience Award, has been selected by as the country’s official entry into the Oscar Foreign Language Film race.

Related Gaspar Noé's 'Climax' On France Foreign Language Oscar Shortlist; Studiocanal Names New CFO - Global Briefs

The thriller, Möller’s directorial debut, was acquired by Magnolia Pictures in Park City and is hitting U.S. theaters October 19 in 25 markets. It next screens at Fantastic Fest which launches today.

The film centers on a police officer (Jakob Cedergren), who, when demoted to desk work, expects a sleepy beat as an emergency dispatcher. That changes when he answers a panicked phone call from a kidnapped woman who then disconnects abruptly. Confined to the police station, he is forced to use others as his eyes and ears as the severity of the crime slowly becomes more clear, with all the action set in his single location.

Denmark has won the Foreign Language Film Oscar three times, winning back-to-back in 1987 and 1988 with Babette’s Feast and Pelle the Conqueror, respectively, and most recently with Susanne Bier’s In a Better World in 2010. Recent nominations have come for A Royal Affair, The Hunt and 2016’s Land of Mine.

Here’s the latest list of submissions:

2019 Foreign Language Film Oscar Submissions

  • Algeria â€" Until The End Of Time â€" Yasmine Chouikh
  • Austria â€" The Waldheim Waltz â€" Ruth Beckermann
  • Belarus â€" Crystal Swan â€" Darya Zhuk
  • Belgium â€" Girl â€" Lukas Dhont
  • < strong>Bolivia â€" Muralla â€" Rodrigo Patiño
  • Bosnia â€" Never Leave Me â€" Aida Begic
  • Brazil â€" The Great Mystical Circus â€" Carlos Diegues
  • Bulgaria â€" Omnipresent â€" Ilian Djevelekov
  • Cambodia â€" Graves Without A Name â€" Rithy Pan
  • Canada â€" Watch Dog â€" Sophie Dupuis
  • Chile â€" And Suddenly The Dawn â€" Silvio Caiozzi
  • Colombiaâ€" Birds of Passage, Cristina Gallego & Ciro Guerra
  • Croatia â€" The Eighth Commissioner â€" Ivan Salaj
  • Czech Republic â€" Winter Flies â€" Olmo Omerzu
  • Denmark â€" The Guilty â€" Gustav Möller
  • Dominican Republic â€" Cocote â€" Nelson Carlo de los Santos
  • Ecuador â€" A Son Of Man â€" Jamaicanoproblem and Pablo Agüero
  • Egypt â€" Yomeddine â€" Abu Bakr Shawky
  • Estonia â€" Take It Or Leave It â€" Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo
  • Finland â€" Euthanizer â€" Teemu Nikin
  • Georgia â€" Namme â€" Zaza Khalvashi
  • Germany â€" Never Look Away â€" Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
  • Greece â€" Polyxeni â€" Dora Masklavanou
  • Indonesia â€" Marlina The Murderer In Four Acts â€" Mouly Surya
  • Iraq â€" The Journey â€" Mohamed Al-Daradji
  • Iran â€" No Date, No Signature â€" Vahid Jalilvand
  • Israel â€" The Cakemaker â€" Ofir Raul Grazier
  • Japan â€" Shoplifters â€" Hiro kazu Kore-eda
  • Kosovo â€" The Marriage â€" Blerta Zeqiri
  • Latvia â€" To Be Continued â€" Ivars Seleckis
  • Lebanon â€" Capernaum â€" Nadine Labaki
  • Lithuania â€" Wonderful Losers: A Different World â€" Arunas Matelis
  • Luxembourg â€" Gutland â€" Govinda Van Maele
  • Macedonia: Secret Ingredient â€" Gjorce Stavreski
  • Mexico â€" Roma â€" Alfonso Cuarón
  • Morocco â€" Burnout â€" Nour Eddine Lakhmari
  • Netherlands â€" The Resistance Banker â€" Joram Lürsen
  • Norway â€" What Will People Say â€" Iram Haq
  • Palestine â€" Ghost Hunting â€" Raed Andoni
  • Pakistan â€" Cake â€" Asim Abbasi
  • Pan ama â€" Ruben Blades Is Not My Name â€" Abner Benaim
  • Peru â€" Eternity â€" Oscar Catacora
  • Portugal â€" Peregrinação â€" João Botelho
  • Romania â€" I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians â€" Radu Jude
  • Serbia â€" Offenders â€" Dejan Zecevic
  • Singapore â€" Buffalo Boys â€" Mike Wiluan
  • Slovakia â€" The Interpreter â€" Martin Sulik
  • Slovenia â€" Ivan â€" Janez Burger
  • South Korea â€" Burning â€" Lee Chang-dong
  • Spain â€" Champions â€" Javier Fesser
  • Sweden â€" Border â€" Ali Abbasi
  • Switzerland â€" Eldorado â€" Markus Imhoof
  • Taiwan â€" The Grerat Buddha+ †" Huang Hsin-Yao
  • Thailand â€" Malila: The Farewell Flower â€" Anucha Boonyawatana
  • Tunisia â€" Beauty And The Dogs â€" Kaouther Ben Hania
  • Turkey â€" The Wild Pear Tree â€" Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  • Ukraine â€" Donbass â€" Sergei Loznitsa
  • UK â€" I Am Not A Witch â€" Rungano Nyoni
  • Venezuela â€" The Family â€" Gustavo Rondon Cordova
Source: Google News Denmark | Netizen 24 Denmark

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Denmark quake slightly stronger that initially recorded

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Officials say that the rare earthquake that hit Denmark over the weekend was a tad stronger than first believed.

The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, known by its acronym GEUS, says Sunday's quake, initially said to be magnitude 3.4, actually measured 3.5. The quake caused no damages or casualties, but was a rare occurrence in Denmark.

GEUS said Thursday the quake, near Holstebro, a town 250 kilometers (158 miles) northwest of Copenhagen, was felt by most people in the area.

A magnitude 4.7 temblor was recorded off the Jutland peninsula in the North Sea in 1985.

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Novo Nordisk to lay off 400 employees in China, Denmark

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Source: Google News Denmark | Netizen 24 Denmark