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May 23, 2017

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Government may subsidize artificial insemination cost

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Bureau of Health Promotion is planning to provide subsidy for married couples with infertility problems to help lower financial burden for artificial insemination as a measure of raising the birth rate in Taiwan.

Officials at the bureau under the Department of Health said they will forward a proposal for the financial assistance to the Ministry of Interior that will soon hold a conference on population policies.

Under an initial plan, the bureau will give a subsidy of NT$50,000 to qualified couples for each artificial insemination attempt.

The plan came under consideration after the bureau studied the measures taken by other nations to prop up the birth rate.

Among other steps, South Korean government is offing a subsidy of around NT$50,000 for each artificial insemination with a maximum of three attempts.

Dr. Li Mao-sheng, an authority on reproductive medicine and artificial insemination, welcomed the subsidy plan as the nation's birth rate now ranks among the lowest in the world.

He estimated that around 200,000 married couples in Taiwan have infertility problems, roughly one for every six or seven pairs. About 10 percent of the infertility couples have sought artificial reproductive methods.

Government subsidy will help encourage more people to receive treatment or attempt artificial insemination, which currently costs between NT$100,000 and NT$120,000 each time, he said.

There are more than 2,000 test tube babies born in Taiwan each year. The total number of test tube babies has surpassed the 3 million mark around the world since the inception of the artificial reproductive method 30 years ago, according to an international medical research report.

The great majority of such babies are in normal condition with good health except for few cases of below-average weight or birth defects.

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