China Offering Free Fertility Treatments To Boost Low Birth Rates

(Photo by Andrew Wong/Getty Images)

Gretchen Clayson Contributor
Font Size:

China is expanding its national insurance coverage to include fertility treatments in an effort to boost their falling population numbers, officials reportedly announced Friday.

China, through its National Healthcare Security Administration, announced that they would be expanding medical coverage to include fertility treatments and labor analgesia, CNN reported.

The country saw its population decline in 2022, the first such decline in 60 years, by 850,000 people, CNN reported at the time. Coupled with that was a report that birth rates in the country had fallen to a record low of just 6.77 births per 1,000 people, despite urges from Beijing for citizens to marry and have more children.

“The population will likely trend down from here in coming years. This is very important, with implications for potential growth and domestic demand,” Zhiwei Zhang, president and chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management told CNN.

China abandoned its decades long “one child” policy in 2015, allowing couples to have two children. That policy was further altered in 2021 with Chinese officials encouraging families to expand to three children, but even with offering tax deductions and incentives like maternity leave, national birth rates have continued to fall, CNN reported.

Chinese officials have become increasingly concerned about the slowing population growth and its impact on the economy. The country recorded just a 3% growth in 2022, its worst performance in 50 years, CNN reported. If population numbers continue to decline, China could face “steep economic challenges” as their aging population retires, reducing their labor force, according to CNN. (RELATED: China Hints At Missing Economic Growth Target Amid Banking Crisis, Declining Population)

“China cannot rely on the demographic dividend as a structural driver for economic growth. Going forward demographics will be a headwind,” Zhang told CNN. “Economic growth will have to depend more on productivity growth, which is driven by government policies.”