Rising Popularity of IVF in China
Recently, the government announced that China has experienced the first population drop in six decades, In vitro fertilization (IVF) has made its way back under public attention as the solution to the never-before-seen phenomenon.
Low birth rates and aging populations remain concerning issues even after China amended the long-existing one-child policy to reward families with more than one child. The country is planning to place bets on ways to alleviate this problem with assisted reproductive procedures like IVF.
In this Pacific Prime article, we will introduce you to the basic concept of IVF, the current state of IVF, why it is getting popular, whether it is the right option for you, and most importantly, how you can better prepare for your pregnancy through IVF in China.
Introduction to IVF
IVF is not yet a prevalent technology in China. Read on for a brief idea of what IVF is about.
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the assisted reproductive procedures, which involves fertilizing a woman’s egg with a man’s sperm in a laboratory before returning it to the woman’s womb to grow and develop. This helps people with fertility problems conceive at a higher success rate.
Why Should You Consider IVF?
IVF is used to treat infertility and help those who are suffering from certain genetic problems. It can be the best chance for a biological child for couples and individuals who have a hard time getting pregnant under these specific circumstances:
- You or your partner have a low sperm count
- Problems with ovulation
- Problems with the fallopian tubes
- Either you or your partner have been sterilized
Who is IVF for?
IVF is particularly helpful for the following individuals:
- Infertile partner(s)
- People who wish to avoid passing inherited genetic disorders to their children
- Single people who would like to become parents
- Sexually and gender-diverse people (LGBTQ+)
- Woman’s aged around 40
Status of IVF in China
Currently, there are 539 approved medical institutions and 27 sperm banks in China. They have performed over a million cycles of IVF annually with a success rate of about 30%, resulting in 300,000 babies conceived. This number has turned out to be much lower than the global average of 50%.
The deficit in China’s provision of IVF services can be traced back to the under-trained medical staff, as it is not a widely accepted method of conceiving. Moreover, high levels of stress among women and a rising average age for pregnancy are also responsible for such insufficiency.
The government, however, has been promoting the use of IVF as a method to increase the birth rate. A proposal was submitted to make sure that at least one facility is available to offer IVF treatments for every 2.3 to 3 million people by 2025, taking the medical institution count to over 600.
The government has been pushing IVF treatment to resolve the decreasing population. But, do you know what caused women in China to hesitate when it comes to giving birth? Here are some of the factors to be considered.
IVF Is a More Viable Option to Give Birth in China
More and more Chinese women have postponed or given up on forming a family recently, due to financial pressure associated with China’s rapid economic development. The inflation rate is much higher than their annual salary increment, which makes saving up money literally impossible.
Giving birth is costly in any way, from regular hospital check-ups to post-birth childrearing, not to mention most Chinese women tend to be stay-at-home mothers to take care of their children. This leaves their partners as the sole breadwinner to support their way of living, causing both men and women unwilling to give birth.
IVF is a viable choice for them as it boosts their chance of conceiving a baby even at an older age. It relieves men’s pressure to provide for their families and fulfills women’s increasing prioritization in careers.
Alteration of lifestyle
Gender equality is widely advocated across the globe. Women also prefer focusing on their careers first and later in their lives on their pregnancy. The average marriage age has risen to 27, illustrating Chinese people’s desire to live a stable life after getting married and giving birth to a new life.
However, due to the fierce competition in China, they may face immense stress and turn to drinking and smoking to reduce stress. In fact, it has been revealed that men in high-density urban regions now have a substantial decrease in sperm count due to high rates of stress and pollution.
IVF technology involves egg and sperm freezing to keep them at optimal conditions. This can ensure a high chance of conceiving even at later ages.
Rising Appearance of Single Parents
As mentioned earlier, IVF is suitable for single people who would like to become parents. Marriage is costly – from the wedding ceremony to the family dinner gathering, the expenditure is no joke. Some people prefer to become single parents, with just enough savings to raise a newborn.
For an unmarried person who prefers to stay single, IVF is a likely option for them to have a baby. However, there currently are government policies restricting unmarried women from accessing IVF treatment services, causing a mismatch in the demand and supply of IVF that needs to be addressed.
Single parents are reliant on IVF technology to have a child. Hence, the rising appearance of single parents also calls for the need for IVF facilities and services to expand in the near future.
Tips for Reducing the Cost of IVF
The cost of IVF treatments can vary widely depending on a lot of external factors.
- Geographical location: IVF clinics or hospitals located in smaller cities or rural areas may have a lower cost, which can result in lower fees for patients. IVF services in larger cities often come with a more comprehensive treatment and aftercare.
- Staff qualifications: Clinics or hospitals with less experienced or qualified staff may charge lower fees for their services. Experienced fertility specialists charge more for their expertise and hence more reliable as the authority in the field.
- Treatment protocols: IVF services depend on the use of treatment protocols or medications. Clinics and hospitals that use less expensive facilities may be able to offer lower fees to patients. Note that less advanced clinical and laboratory facilities will negatively affect the success rates of IVF treatments.
Although there are ways to reduce your spending on IVF, it still comes with a big cost. There are also uncontrollable factors that affect the price of your treatment:
- Premature ovarian failure
- Poor egg quality
- Poor response to ovarian stimulation
- Significantly elevated day 3 follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level
- Low antral follicle counts on ultrasound
- The female patient’s age (over 40)
Despite being comparatively cheaper than other countries like the U.S., the cost still ranges from USD $3,500 to USD $4,500 per cycle. You are recommended to choose a service that is affordable, reliable, and safe. If you are preparing to travel to China for IVF treatment, you also have to consider these costs:
- Hotel and accommodation
- Food and drinks during the stay
- Airfare and transport
- Travel Insurance
Insurance Options for IVF
According to the latest announcement from the government, from the 1st of July this year, 16 types of assisted reproduction technology will be available under Beijing’s healthcare system. IVF will be included under basic health insurance, though availability to expats is unknown.
Therefore, it makes sense to protect yourself financially with health insurance. Insurers do not usually provide coverage for IVF pregnancies. With that said, you can still find a plan that covers complications or newborn care to ensure your financial, physical, and mental health after having a baby.
Having maternity benefits is advantageous. Your costs of pre- and post-natal check-ups, and baby delivery services in the hospital are covered. You will also have access to private hospitals for state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, medical specialists, and most importantly, shorter wait times.
Reach out to Pacific Prime
IVF treatment sounds like a promising solution to the drop in the overall population in China and also caters to certain individuals’ needs. However, it comes with its own risks and prices, so you should carefully plan your IVF-assisted pregnancy. Don’t worry, you are not alone!
As a health insurance intermediary with rich experience in the field, Pacific Prime can help you find a plan that suits your requirements and budget. Our team of experts is here to guide you through your insurance journey, resolving your doubts and uncertainties along the way.
Disclaimer: Pacific Prime solely represents, operates, and manages locally regulated insurance products and services in the territory of PR China. Any references to Pacific Prime Global Company or Group, the international services, insurance products, or otherwise stated written or verbally, is for introduction purposes about our overseas network only as each entity is fully independent.