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Insurance to subsidize birth of Hangzhou test-tube babies

China Daily| Updated: December 19, 2022 L M S

Up to 3,000 yuan ($425) will be reimbursed to insured couples who opt for test-tube babies in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, to reduce burdens faced by those wanting but unable to have children, according to Zhejiang Daily.

The new policy is set to take effect on Jan 1 and is covered by West Lake Benefit United Insurance, the only commercial supplementary medical insurance supported by the Hangzhou Medical Insurance Bureau.

"The newly added reimbursement for assisted reproduction by West Lake Benefit United Insurance is in response to the national population policy, and aims to optimize Hangzhou's fertility policy and help promote balanced development of the population in the long run," said Zhu Aimin, manager of the health insurance department of China Life Hangzhou branch.

The policy stipulates that part of the expenses for embryo culture and transfer will be paid by West Lake Benefit United Insurance for insured citizens who receive assisted reproductive treatment in designated provincial and municipal hospitals with specific assisted reproduction qualifications in Hangzhou.

"Assisted reproduction allows people who have reproductive problems that cannot be cured by drugs or surgery to get pregnant. It is used for patients with tubal obstruction, endometriosis, ovulation disorders and unexplained infertility, as well as for older couples," said Deng Zhidong, general manager of Bo'ao Medical Technology Co, who was quoted by Beijing Business Today recently.

The reimbursement limit for embryo culture and transfer expenses is capped at 1,500 yuan each per year.

Embryo culture and transfer are two critical steps for in-vitro fertilization, with the former usually costing 2,000 to 6,000 yuan, and the latter 2,000 yuan each time, said Zhejiang Daily.

The infertility rate in China for people of childbearing age has risen to about 12 to 15 percent — some 50 million people — from just 2.5 to 3 percent 20 years ago, according to a recent report by the China Population Association and the National Health Commission.

Fang Xiaoying contributed to this story.