China region approves IVF health insurance coverage to boost birth rates

Other fertility services will also be included under the basic package

China region approves IVF health insurance coverage to boost birth rates

Life & Health

By Kenneth Araullo

The health insurance system in Southwest China's Guangxi region is set to incorporate in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and other fertility services as part of its fundamental medical insurance, becoming the second area in the country to take this step to counter a significant decline in the national birth rate.

An SCMP report revealed that as announced by the health department of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, commencing next month, IVF and other fertility services will be encompassed within its basic medical insurance coverage.

Guangxi becomes the second province-level area to allocate government funds to reimburse medical expenses for fertility services, following in the footsteps of the national capital, Beijing.

The initiative in Guangxi forms part of the ongoing efforts to encourage childbirth as China has witnessed a drop of around 40% in the annual number of newborns over the last five years.

Chinese birth rates at its lowers in modern history

Last year, the total number of newborns in China amounted to 9.56 million, marking the lowest figure in modern history and the first instance where the count descended below 10 million. Analysts have expressed concerns that births might further decline to a range between 7 million and 8 million this year, casting shadows on the country’s demographic landscape.

Under the new policy, residents in Guangxi, depending on their insurance coverage, may receive up to 70% reimbursement for assisted fertility treatments, with each treatment eligible for reimbursement up to two times. IVF, a laboratory-based method of conception, often demands significant financial investment, with costs reaching tens of thousands of yuan and requiring multiple attempts for successful outcomes.

While the northeastern province of Liaoning previously announced plans to cover fertility services from July, the implementation was postponed and is yet to be realised.

It is also worth noting that these policies and medical benefits remain exclusive to married women. Unmarried women in China are still prohibited from undergoing these procedures, even at their own expense.

Elsewhere in China, the country’s Ministry of Finance has made a move that effectively allows insurance firms to make longer-term investment in shares, adding to a drumbeat of support measures to revitalise the country’s stock market.

What are your thoughts on this story? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!