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China to be world’s biggest IVF market as one-child policy ends

IVF market in China, one-child policy

The Nanfang clinic in China's southern Guangdong province says it offers Chinese patients seeking in-vitro fertilization (IVF) the chance to choose the gender of their child, avoid stringent approval checks and snarling queues.


Demand for IVF in China is expected to rise after Beijing scrapped its controversial one-child policy in October, which will strain already-crowded state-run hospitals but create opportunities for overseas health centers, firms helping train local doctors – and underground clinics.


"Here we can do IVF with gender selection and you don't need lots of documentation," a doctor at the Guangdong clinic surnamed Hao told Reuters, adding there had been a 50 percent jump in consultations since the one-child policy announcement.


She said many of her patients were younger women opting for IVF so they could choose a boy, a traditional preference.


Beijing's tight control makes it hard for private firms to operate IVF clinics in the country, but growing demand for doctors and specialists has created other gaps in the market.


"Training to help up-skill clinicians and embryologists to treat the patients is definitely a big growth area," said Jason Spittle, global director of training at U.S. medical device maker Cook Medical, "China is set to be the biggest IVF market in the world, probably within the next couple of years."


Chinese couples who have the financial means often go abroad to the United States, Australia, Thailand and Vietnam for IVF.


"The biggest driver is that there are so many hoops to jump through to get IVF treatment here," said Mr Lei, a China-based intermediary who helps patients go to Thailand.


Rising Chinese demand for fertility treatments is therefore good news for overseas clinics such as Australia-based Monash IVF Group and Virtus Health or Superior A.R.T. in Thailand.


"Our clinic has prepared Chinese-speaking staff to coordinate with rising number of Chinese patients," said Superior A.R.T. deputy manager Arnon Sinsawasdi, adding the end of the one-child policy should give business a boost.


IVF Australia, part of Virtus Health, plays on Chinese demand for the latest procedures with a Chinese-language website advertising its "cutting-edge technology" to help parents "achieve their dream of having a child".



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