May 29, 2017
The Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services, from May 28 to June 1, aims to put together business deals in finance, tech, education and healthcare, in the hope of helping Chinese couples who are struggling to have babies and those who have been forced to go overseas for medical help. Meanwhile, participating Chinese firms are trying to bring US technology in reproductive medicine back home.
Around 15 percent of the Chinese couples of childbearing age are having problems to conceive, and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technique is what they need.
While 400 hospitals nationwide provide such service, couples need to queue up for years until they get access to the technology.
One Chinese healthcare provider, CiMing Checkup, decided to move in, undergoing transformation along with government’s policies and healthcare market demand.
“We have been seeking to upgrade our business. In China, there used to be restrictions on allowing private hospitals to offer IVF services in the past. So we chose to expand overseas first. We would like to bring such service back to China,” CiMing Checkup Founder Han Xiaohong said.
The success rate of IVF in China is around 30 percent, while in the US, the number is around 60 to 70 percent, according to Han.
With that in mind, it could be understandable that more and more Chinese couples are sailing to the US to be assisted. Melissa Brisman, the owner of Reproductive Possibilities, has helped many Chinese clients conceive babies in the US.
Brisman said Asian couples make up a quarter of her clientele, and noted that some of her American colleagues have told her that as many as 90 percent of their clients are from Asia.
The Chinese industry is also welcoming newcomers. The Global Fertility and Genetics, for example, was co-founded by CiMing Checkup, with the aim to help couples prepare for IVF in China by establishing multiple IDCs, or Infertility Diagnosis Centers.
“That would be more convenient for international patients. Usually if you go to the US for the whole cycle, it would take 20 to 30 days. But at IDC center, they can start their treatment here,” said Annie Liu, Chief Executive Officer of Global Fertility and Genetics.
The majority of IVF operations in China will still be performed in public hospitals in the short run, while many Chinese couples will continue to go flock to the US in the hope of conceiving.
The Chinese government has been loosening its control over who enters the healthcare market, as the State Council has approved a pilot zone for healthcare and tourism in Boao County in the southern province of Hainan, giving alternatives for those yearning to have a baby.