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UK women increasingly looking to IVF: new figures

Increasing numbers of women over 40 in the UK are having recourse to IVF treatment, mainly due to couples delaying having children.

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Unmarried couples cannot adopt, Northern Ireland High Court rules

An attempt to get Northern Irish law to recognise unmarried couples as prospective adoptive parents has failed in the Court of Appeal. The case was brought by an unmarried couple, named X and Y in court and X's child, a 10 year old girl, named as P.

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Ban schools from promoting marriage, say UK academics.

Schools should be prohibited from teaching the benefits of traditional marriages compared to alternative lifestyles, according to top UK academics. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) representing 120,000 lecturers are calling for new legislation to stop teachers telling children that marriage is superior to gay partnerships. This would apply to all teachers, including staff in faith schools.

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Tax exempt status of Northern Ireland under threat from new legislation

New legislation is set to threaten the tax-exempt charity status of churches across Northern Ireland , it has been claimed.

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Married people at less risk of depression, research shows

Marriage helps improve the mental health of those suffering from depression, a new study has found. This remains true even though marriage quality is poorer for depressed individuals. The study compares two sets of people suffering from depression, those who remain single, and those who recently married. It found that after five years of marriage the second group exhibited fewer signs of depression than the first.

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Huge increase in households without children, Census reveals

There has been a major increase in the number of Irish households without children, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show. A majority of households in the State (52 per cent) now have no children.

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“Marriage gap” creating growing inequality in US, says Economist

A widening gulf in attitudes towards marriage is accentuating America's growing inequality problem, according to a feature influential magazine the Economist. Divorce rates among college-educated women have plummeted, the article says.

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Divorce hurts men's health, Canadian research shows

Men suffer more than women from divorce and marital breakdown, according to new Canadian research. Canadian government statistics showed that both men and women whose marriages have dissolved have a higher risk of being depressed than people who remained with their spouses.

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Couples postponing marriage for longer, new figures show

Couples are putting off getting married for longer, according to new Census figures. Spouses are now getting married later into their 30s and more are having civil marriages, the latest data from the Central Statistics Office shows.

In 2005, the average age for men to marry was 33 years old. The average age of marriage for women was 31 years old. That means that both men and women were likely to be three years older than in 1996, when the average age for marrying was 30 for men, and 28 for women.

Just over 64 per cent of men and nearly half of women getting married were over 30 in 2005. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown had the oldest age profile. There, the average groom was almost 35 years old and the average bride was 32.

However farmers and farm managers were the profession who delayed longest before marrying, with both men and women waiting until they were over 35.

Clinical psychologist Marie Murray suggested that people were marrying later for a variety of reasons including more educational opportunities, the cost of housing and higher ideals in terms of relationships.

"Many people also choose to live together for a number of years and a decision to get married may be based on the intention to have children," she said.

People were also less likely to commit early, she added. Many had high expectations of relationships and were looking to find the idealised person.

Many are also becoming used to a lifestyle, with only themselves to consider, Dr Murray said. Such a lifestyle, she pointed out, might entail “significant experiences, including travel, that were not available to previous generations".

Delaying marriage held a number of disadvantages, Dr Murray added, including the difficulties of adjusting to compromise with another adult and children, after being a "master of one's own affairs".

"A very enjoyable lifestyle may have been acquired and having to confer with another can be a downside," she said.

People are also moving away from church ceremonies for marriage. Of the 21,355 marriages in 2005, some 4,762, or just over 22 per cent, were civil marriages, five times more than in 1996.

Stephen Cummins, director of education at Accord, the Catholic marriage service, said they were not surprised to see an increase in the ages of couples getting married.

"A quarter of a century ago, the grooms coming to us were 25 on average and the brides were 21, one salary would sustain a family, world travel didn't exist, it was a different Ireland," he said.


Record number of children in US born to cohabiting parents: report

The number of children born to parents who are unmarried but cohabiting is at a record level, says a study released today by a nonprofit research group. More than half the children who were born outside marriage had both parents in the home, Child Trends researchers said in their new paper.

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Single parent group to lobby for “family diversity day”

One Parent Exchange and Network (OPEN), a group representing single parents in Ireland, are to lobby the Government to establish May 15th as “Family Diversity Day” May 15th is currently the United Nations Designated Day of Families.

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European women having fewer children than they would like: report

European women would like to have more babies, according to a survey by the European Commission.

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US divorce rate lowest since 1970

The rate of divorce in the US, which climbed dramatically during and after the 1960s, has dropped to its lowest levels since 1970, according to figures released earlier this month by the National Center for Health Statistics.

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World Congress of Families hears of threats to family

Over 3000 delegates attended the World Congress of Families in Warsaw last weekend where they heard speakers highlight current legal and other threats to marriage.

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“Lip service” being paid to denominational schools, says Church of Ireland Archbishop

The State is paying lip service to religious schools, according to the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Neill. Department of Education requests that denominational schools double in size almost overnight are endangering the Protestant ethos of his Church's schools.

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Religious freedom still threatened around the world: US State Department

Eleven countries have been designated by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) as engaging in “systematic violations of religious freedom”. The Commission has recommended that Burma, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam be designated by the US State Department as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs).

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Marriage and the family: a summary of the main parties' positions

With the election just weeks away, here is a summary of the policies of some of the main parties on the questions of tax individualisation, civil partnership and family issues.

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New French President attacks “immorality” of 1968, supports religion

Nicolas Sarkozy, winner of Sunday's French Presidential elections, has signaled his intent to put morality at the heart of public debate. Last week, as he rallied his supporters in the final week of this bitterly contested election, he dared to criticise one of the most cherished memories of the French Left: the student demonstrations of 1968.

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It's official: Stay-at-home mums worth their weight in gold

Research has confirmed what many have known for some time: the work done by housewives is worth a small fortune.

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Ongoing clash between secularists and Islamic democrats

Clashes between Turkey's secularist bureaucratic and military elite and its Islamic ruling Justice and Development party, the AKP, are continuing to convulse the country.

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Article 7. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.