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August 24, 2017

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The government's expecting ... a new plan to boost the birth rate

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In mid-April, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said it would create an office to lift the fertility rate from 1.1 to 1.6.

The Health Ministry said it would come up with short and long-term goals by June or July of this year.

According to the latest data, couples in Taiwan average 1.1 child each, whereas a total fertility rate of 1.6 is needed to balance the young and old populations.

Furthermore, according to the CIA World Factbook's publication, Taiwan ranks third to last, at 222 out of 224 countries and territories, in 2016 for the lowest total fertility rate at 1.12 children born per woman.

The Health Ministry's Wang Tsung-hsi (王宗曦) has commented on monetary incentives to promote birth rates, calling it a temporary and short-term solution to the problem. "Resources must be used in the right places," which, according to Wang, is the reason behind founding the sub-replacement fertility office.

The office is reportedly going to link support of couples pre-, during, and post-childbirth, thereby providing a comprehensive approach to child care and family-planning assistance.

Wang said the ministry has been conducting meetings with experts to come up with concrete plans to boost fertility rate in the country and that these plans will be made public latest in three months' time. In a bid to boost the young population of the country, Wang said that he is not dismissing surrogacy as an option, as long as society is open to it.

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