Condom makers stiffen production to meet shortages, but can they keep it up?

Coronavirus-related lockdowns are disrupting the contraceptive supply chain. But don’t expect a baby boom.

If you’re reading this, Ma, sorry about the puns. I’ll FaceTime you later.

Condom makers stiffen production to meet shortages, but can they keep it up?

For everyone else who’s still with us: Condom-makers are cranking up their operations to meet global demand for contraceptives, at a time when lockdowns are disrupting the rubbery supply chain.

Here’s a crazy stat you probably didn’t know

A company based in Malaysia — Karex Berhad — makes 1 out of every 5 condoms in the world. You may not be familiar with Karex, but you’ve probably heard of Durex, one of its most well-known brands.

Karex recently restarted its factories with a reduced workforce. Prior to that, The Guardian said its 3 Malaysian facilities hadn’t produced a single condom in more than a week. They got permission to resume because condom factories do count as essential businesses.

Elsewhere, Bloomberg reported that Thailand’s biggest condom manufacturer is at “maximum output.”

  • The Thai Nippon Rubber Industry Co. expects to churn out as many as 1.9B condoms this year — a 27% increase from its average annual supply.

The pandemic is causing problems for other forms of contraception, too — social distancing measures (not to mention layoffs that disrupt access to health insurance) have made it more difficult for some women to get birth-control prescriptions.

So is a coronavirus baby boom in our future?

You’ve heard the jokes: The generation of babies born 9 months from now will be christened coronitas, right?

Keep your pants on. The fact-checkers at USA Today found that there’s not much evidence to support the idea that a boom is inevitable. Experts said people tend to postpone kids in times of economic uncertainty. At best, it might be a “baby blip.”

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