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Beijing to fund fertility treatment under public medical insurance scheme

Farah Alam

Progress Educational Trust

05 March 2022

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[BioNews, London]

In Beijing, couples using the city public medical insurance scheme, will be insured for 16 different types of fertility treatment, as part of China's response to counteract the country's declining birth rates.

China has continued to see a decline in birth rate despite encouraging couples to have a third child, since the three-child policy was introduced last year. In 2021, the number of births per woman in China was 1.15, which was one of the lowest in the world, according to the Chinese cable TV news service, CGTN.

'The announcement of the policy shows the country's determination to encourage birth,' Liao Xi, dean of Beijing Perfect Family Hospital, told the Beijing-based newspaper, Securities Daily. 'Those who choose assisted reproductive technologies have a strong willingness to have a child. But the success rate of the technologies is limited. The services were previously not included under the public medical insurance scheme because they are costly.'

The insurance will cover fertility treatment, including IVF and intrauterine insemination (IUI) from 26 March, as reported by Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency. IUI involves sperm being directly injected into the uterus for improved fertilisation success. The number of IVF rounds that couples can have subsidised is also unlimited as reported in the Times.

Some Beijing residents have responded well to this change in policy as reported by the Chinese state-owned online magazine, Sixth Tone. They interviewed 30-year old Luo Yanan, who has spent 50,000 yuan on two unsuccessful IVF procedures, last year. Yanan 'hopes to try the procedure again and is relieved that part of the costs would be covered by insurance.'

This change in Beijing's insurance scheme may spread to other cities as well. An employee from an infertility treatment centre in Shanghai, told Sixth Tone: 'the city is now under pressure to add assisted reproductive technologies to insurance scheme after Beijing's move.'

China is also considering additional measures in easing the burden of child-rearing for families. These includes longer maternity leave and increasing the number of nurseries available.

SOURCES & REFERENCES

Amid fewer births, Beijing adds fertility treatments to insurance
Sixthtone |  23 February 2022
Beijing's medical insurance to cover fertility services to boost birth rate
CGTN |  21 February 2022
'Free IVF' as China tries to reverse declining birthrate
The Times |  21 February 2022
To support births, Chinese capital Beijing adds fertility services to insurance
Reuters |  28 February 2022



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Date Added: 05 March 2022   Date Updated: 05 March 2022
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