Reproductive medical services in China sprout post one-child policy

Premier Li Keqiang

It remains early days after China's move to abandon the one-child policy, but China Daily reports that efforts to provide reproductive services to potential parents are growing with a focus on older couples.

The one-child policy was scrapped in October of last year with two children now allowed after decades that saw strictly enforced efforts to limit the population.

The population curbs however created a discordant demographic profile in China that pits a need for services and workers for a fast-aging population against a shrinking proportion of the country's nearly 1.4 billion people aged 15-64.

In fact, Premier Li Keqiang this week urged more efforts to help the aging population get access to services.

Few expect the policy shift on family size to have an immediate impact on the trend in China, though more than a few analysts have speculated whether parents would rush to have another child, and how that might play out in demand for care products as well as related medical items from vaccines to contraceptives.

Signs have brightened that investment in assisted reproductive services by provincial governments and the private sector will likely increase in anticipation of a surge in demand.

A focus is on older reproductive-age couples, China Daily said, who may not be able to have children without reproductive services.

However, as China Daily noted, "the number of institutions that can provide such services is inadequate in China."

The newspaper said the 2012 data from the National Health and Family Planning Commission showed 356 institutions qualified to provide assisted reproductive services as of 2012.

As well, licenses to provide such services have been suspended since 2013, though prospects for the ban to be lifted this year seem high, China Daily said.

Elsewhere, public health efforts at the local level such as the Chongqing Health and Family Planning Commission have pledged to expand the number of such centers, China Daily said.

Among local firms in the space, China Daily said, is Guangdong Taiantang Pharmaceutical.

"We already have six products related to reproductive health covering pre-pregnancy adjustment, tocolysis and healing after delivery," Ke Shaobin, general manager of Taiantang, told China Daily, adding that included in vitro fertilization.

- here's the China Daily story
- and the State Council release on aging