China contemplating giving single women IVF access to stem population decline
As China tries to slow its demographic decline, policymakers are contemplating giving IVF access to single women and providing them with child subsidies that were previously only available to married couples.
In February, officials in the southwestern province of Sichuan lifted a restriction that prevented unmarried women from registering the birth of a child. The Chinese government is now considering rolling out the change across the country in an effort to address the problem of record-low birth rates.
Political advisers proposed in March that single and unmarried women should have access to egg-freezing and IVF treatment, among other services. But so far, the government has not commented on the recommendations publicly.
“Becoming a single parent is not for everyone, but I’m happy with the decision,” said a 33-year-old single woman identified as Chen. “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,” she said.
Earlier this year, it was reported that China’s population had fallen for the first time in more than 60 years. This is expected to herald the start of a long period of decline, despite major efforts from the government to try to encourage more births.
“If China changes their policy to allow single women to have children, this can result in an increase of IVF demand,” Yve Lyppens, director of business development for Asia Pacific at Invo Bioscience was quoted as saying. Invo Bioscience is awaiting regulatory approval to launch its IVF technology in China after signing a distribution agreement with the Guangzhou-based Onesky Holdings last year.
“However, if there is a sudden increase, China will have an even larger capacity issue.”
Joy Yang, a 22-year-old international finance major from Hunan province, said she first heard of IVF on television and she wants it to be made available nationwide, in case she does not find a partner but her financial situation allows her to have a child.
“There are some women who don’t want to get married but they still want to have children. I might choose to do IVF,” she said.
Meanwhile, India’s population is set to increase by nearly 3 million more than China’s over the next few months, according to demographic data from the UN Population Fund’s State of World Population report for 2023.
It is estimated that the population of India will stand at 1.4286 billion by the middle of the year, while China’s is predicted to stand at 1.4257 billion.