In recent years, fertility rates have decreased in all Nordic countries. In Finland and Norway, the decline has been more rapid than elsewhere. Excluding Faroe Islands and Greenland, the total fertility rates are below the replacement level, 2.1 children per women.

Fertility and births

In all the Nordic countries, it is possible to obtain treatment for infertility, paid for by the public health services, even if in Iceland and Norway has higher user charges for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment than for other types of treatment. Denmark is the country with most IVF treatments. and Finland the country with lowest. Between 3 and 5 per cent of live births is the result of IVF. Many births resulting from IVF are still multiple births. The rate of multiple births among spontaneous pregnancies (non-IVF-pregnancies) is between 1.0 and 1.5 per cent.

Internationally, the Nordic countries are characterized by having very low perinatal mortality. Greenland has the highest perinatal mortality rate among the Nordic countries. The other countries lie relatively close to each other. Changes in perinatal mortality during this period are the result of changes in the definition of gestational ages. The time limit for spontaneous abortion and stillbirth is 22 weeks in all the Nordic countries except for the Faroe Islands and Greenland, where the limit is 28 weeks. 

The data on stillbirths and infant deaths are presented in two ways: first according to calendar year i.e., year of birth and death and second according to birth cohort, i.e. year of birth with follow-up for the first year of life.  Åland and Finland have the lowest mortality rate for the first year of life.


Since the middle of the 1970s, induced abortion has been available in most of the Nordic countries. In Iceland and Sweden, the abortion is free until the 22nd and the 18th week of gestation,

In Denmark, Greenland and Norway, the limit is 12th week of gestation. In these countries, it is solely up to the pregnant woman herself to decide whether an abortion is to be performed, while the women in Faroe Islands, Finland and Åland need a legal indication for the procedure.

The abortion legislation is, however, interpreted liberally, and most induced abortion is done due to social grounds. Also, late abortions after the 12th or 18th week of gestation may be carried out, but only following special assessment and permission from regional or national authority. Finland and Faroe Islands have the lowest abortion rates, while the highest are recorded in Greenland and Sweden.