Cabinet on Wednesday moved to increase IVF treatment subsidies to €3,500 as part of the government’s efforts to combat low birth rates.

The funding previously amounted to €2,500 and has since been increased by €1,000.

As a result, the health ministry’s budget for this scheme will now amount to €5.2 million, up from €4.5m.

Health Minister Popi Kanari explained the funding was specific for the first IVF treatment, describing the move as “necessary to increase our population”.

To this end, fertility rate has to increase from 1.32 per cent to 2.2 per cent, she added.

“We believe this proposal will help many couples have a child, something we consider necessary for our state and we want to boost these efforts, through this scheme,” Kanari said.

She told reporters an important element of the government efforts lies in the fact that 54 per cent of women have their first child after the age of 30.