The Chinese Communist Party is rolling out free fertility treatments to reverse the nation’s downward trend in both birthrates and population.
China’s National Healthcare Security Administration announced last week that it would cover certain reproductive procedures, such as in vitro fertilization, and drugs to ease the pain of childbirth, CNN reported Wednesday.
Chinese officials had made ovulation-inducing drugs available to help “reduce the burden of infertility.”
It’s been widely reported that young Chinese men and women are delaying marriage until later in life.
For example, the number of never-married Chinese women in their late 20s went up eightfold from 1990 to 2015, the Guardian reported last year.
“Young Chinese’s attitude toward marriage poses a big threat to Beijing’s effort to alter the looming demographic crisis,” Dr. Ye Liu, a senior lecturer at King’s College London’s Lau China Institute, told the newspaper in 2022. “Coupled with a higher level of education and economic betterment, this will become a bigger headache in the years to come.”
This trend comes as China’s population shrank last year for the first time in six decades. The 1.411 billion people recorded by the nation’s National Bureau of Statistics were 850,000 fewer than in 2021, according to EuroNews.com.
The CCP’s chief concern is how the gradual population decline will affect the country’s economic development.
Government officials tried to get ahead of the curve in 2015 when they dropped their decades-old one-child policy in response to an aging population and smaller workforce. Couples can now have up to three children, and CNN reported that childbirths from unmarried parents will soon be registered with health care officials.