Fifty Shades of Grey blamed for Windsor baby boom

The CEO of a Windsor, Ont., hospital speculates that a spike in birth rates is linked to the popular novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

A sexuality professor says he could be right while a demographer remains cautious.

David Musyj said the hospital has delivered 80 babies in six days — that’s 30 per cent more than delivered in an average week.

“When this book came out, everyone said ‘just wait it’s coming,’” he said of the increased birth rate.

The erotic novel was released in January.

Musyj said he’s not alone in his speculation. He said nursing staff share in his thinking.

“We’ve been talking about it all week,” he said.

Robin Milhausen, an associate professor of family relations and human sexuality at the University of Guelph, said the book could be at least partially responsible for the increase.

Musyj and Milhausen agree it is difficult to scientifically prove the book is to blame.

“We don’t have the data that would indicate it but it would be right around now that babies would be born,” Milhausen said.

Milhausen said more people are having sex and some of that has to do with the book — even if women don’t agree with the type of sex, writing style or character development presented in the book.

“The material is arousing that is likely going to arouse the reader,” she said. “Many women respond to the book and don’t even know it. It’s leading to more sex.”

Milhausen is scheduled to give a public speech about the book and its sexuality at the Kitchener Public Library on Dec. 11.

A leading Canadian demographer, though, cautions about jumping to conclusions.

“Unless someone does a specific analysis it’s hard to say,” said Doug Norris, chief demographer of Environics Analytics. “It’s possible there’s an effect like that. It would be pretty hard to detect.”

Norris, who also worked at Statistics Canada for 30 years, said the increase may have to do more with what “the echo effect” — children of the baby boomers now having their own kids.

“The real big increase in birth has happened across the country,” Norris said. “The boomers children are having children. But that’s not to say there isn’t an effect as suggested [by Musyj]. It makes for a good story and water cooler talk."