China’s decision to allow all married couples to have two children is driving a surge in demand for fertility treatment among older women, putting heavy pressure on clinics and breaking down past sensitivities, and even shame, about the issue.
The rise of in-vitro fertilisation points to the lost dreams of many parents who long wanted a second child, but were prevented by a strict population control policy in place for more than 30 years.
That is shifting attitudes in China regarding fertility treatments, formerly a matter of such sensitivity that couples were reluctant to tell their parents or other family members that they were having trouble conceiving.
“More and more women are coming to ask to have their second child,” said Liu Jiaen, who runs a private hospital in Beijing treating infertility through IVF, in which an egg and sperm are combined in a laboratory dish and the resulting embryo is transferred to a woman’s uterus.
Dr Liu estimated the numbers of women coming to him for IVF had risen by 20 per cent since the relaxation of the policy, which came into effect at the start of the year. Before, the average age of his patients was about 35. Now most of them are older than 40 and some of the women are fast approaching 50, he said. Read more “IVF clinics, sperm banks under the gun in race for extra child”