On Liberalising IVF Nationwide
Experts have been blaming China’s One-child Policy and other restrictive measures for the decline in birthrates for a long. Now, the Xi Jinping Administration in Beijing has decided to encourage single women to have children through In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in order to increase the birthrate. The Government has also given necessary permission to women for receiving IVF treatment legally in private clinics.
China recently recorded its lowest birthrate in the last six decades. Although a group of experts advised the Government of China to encourage single women to become mothers through IVF in March 2023, the top leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) made no comments on this issue at that time. Experts further advised the Government to allow single and unmarried women to freeze their eggs, among other services.
Reports suggest that several women have recently been allowed to visit IVF centres in south-western Chinese Province of Sichuan. Chen Luojin (33), one such woman who wants to opt for IVF for herself, has welcomed the Government’s decision, saying that undergoing the treatment shall be relatively easier for her. She stressed: “Becoming a single parent is not for everyone, but I am happy with the decision. Equally, getting married or not is for each individual to decide. We have liberalised the policies here, and I know a lot of single women are doing IVF.” Chen also said that Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, legalised registration of children by single mothers in February 2023.
Beijing has also taken a number of steps to increase the birthrate. The Government has reportedly stated that single women, like married women, would get maternity leave and receive child subsidies from now on. Shanghai and Guangdong, the coastal province in South China on the north shore of the South China Sea, have already allowed single women to have children. However, the IVF treatment has not yet been approved in these two provinces.
Meanwhile, experts are of the opinion that liberalising IVF nationwide could trigger a demand for fertility treatment in the Asian nation. Although IVF treatment has emerged as the world’s biggest market, China still has limited fertility services. Hence, the Government’s decision shall encourage investors to explore business opportunities there. INVO Bioscience, a medical device company providing devices and products for infertility diagnosis, signed a distribution agreement with Guangzhou-based Onesky Holdings in 2022. However, the company is still awaiting regulatory approval to launch its IVF technology in China. Yve Lyppens, the Director (Business Development for Asia Pacific) of INVO Bioscience, has said: “If China changes their policy to allow single women to have children, this can result in an increase of IVF demand.”
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