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Thursday, 2 December, 1999, 13:27 GMT
Earth unmoved by millennium babies
baby No millennium baby rush

Only couples in Down Under and in the world's most heavily populated country are racing to have the first baby of the new millennium - for the rest of the world it's a Y2K turn-off.

A global survey shows the prospect of a perfectly timed midnight baby on New Year's Day 2000 appears too much for most potential mothers and the expected boom will remain a glint in the hype-builders' eye.

Only couples in Australia and China have gone for the race against the clock. Though the Chinese are more interested in their own new year in February than the millennium.

The rest of the world can shelve contingency plans for maternity wards and baby clothing shops as doctors are now saying there will be no crowd of expectant mothers banging on hospital doors.

It would be quite spectacular to have the first baby born in Australia and the world
Phyllis Sakinofsky, Sydney
April 9, 1999 was supposed to be the perfect day to conceive a millennium baby, but radio stations in the UK playing romantic music and a New Zealand hotel hosting a "Night of Love" for 100 couples hoping to hit the millennium jackpot failed to make the earth move.

A spokesman for the Department of Health in London said: "Nation-wide, the expected baby boom has not materialised."

And at the Sapporo Maternity Hospital in Japan there was "no particular sense of an increase this year".

Caeserean request

New York doctors also report no rush, but Dr Amos Grunebaum at St Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan said: "I had one patient at least who asked me whether I could do a caesarean section that night and I said this is not an acceptable practice."

But in Sydney - the first major world city to see in the New Year - the number of births is expected to be double the usual daily average.

"It would be quite spectacular to have the first baby born in Australia and the world," Phyllis Sakinofsky of the Royal Hospital for Women told Reuters.

And in China, the strict one-child policy was going out the window. The Beijing Youth Daily reported that one woman had an abortion to time her pregnancy better.

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See also:
22 Mar 99 |  Health
Don't be an April fool over sex
06 Apr 99 |  Health
Midwives to clock millennium baby
24 Jul 99 |  Health
Millennium baby boom 'unlikely'
09 Apr 99 |  Health
Millennium baby goes against doctors' orders

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