Av­er­age age of pa­tients is ris­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - He Wen­jie,

gy­ne­col­o­gist at the Xuzhou Ma­ter­nal and Child Health­care Hospi­tal in Jiangsu prov­ince.

Is­tarted my ca­reer as a gy­ne­col­o­gist 17 years ago at the Xuzhou Ma­ter­nal and Child Health­care Hospi­tal in Xuzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince. Since then, there have been many changes in the pa­tients I see. The num­ber of women who find get­ting preg­nant dif­fi­cult or are in­fer­tile has risen rapidly, and the age of my pa­tients has risen, es­pe­cially since the be­gin­ning of the year when the uni­ver­sal two-child pol­icy was adopted.

Be­fore, most of my pa­tients were about 35, but now the av­er­age age is about 37 and some­times I even see pa­tients who are older than 50.

They don’t only come from Jiangsu prov­ince, but also from neigh­bor­ing Shan­dong, He­nan and An­hui.

I think the uni­ver­sal two-child pol­icy is the ma­jor cause of the rise in the age of the pa­tients I now see.

For decades, most ur­ban cou­ples were only al­lowed to have one child, but now they are al­lowed to have two, which has re­sulted in many older cou­ples try­ing every means pos­si­ble to have an­other baby.

More­over, some peo­ple who have lost their only child to ac­ci­dent or ill­ness will try their best to have an­other, even if their ad­vanc­ing years make preg­nancy dif­fi­cult and risky.

Now, nearly half of the women who come to see me about re­pro­duc­tive dif­fi­cul­ties re­sult­ing from fac­tors such as ill­ness or mal­func­tion are hop­ing for a sec­ond child.

Be­fore, nearly all of my pa­tients were hav­ing their first child.

The ma­ter­nity mor­tal­ity rate has risen this year, which is ra­tio­nal be­cause of the num­ber of women with higher lev­els of risk dur­ing preg­nancy, such as older women, has risen sud­denly.

I think most of the deaths hap­pened at smaller countylevel hos­pi­tals.

In ad­di­tion, I have seen more in­fer­tile women, or women whose dif­fi­cul­ties were caused by re­peated abor­tions, than in pre­vi­ous years.

Peo­ple’s minds are be­com­ing more open and pre­mar­i­tal sex is com­mon.

How­ever, abor­tion can greatly re­duce a wo­man’s chances of get­ting preg­nant, and some even can­not get preg­nant with in vitro fer­til­iza­tion.

Be­cause sur­ro­gacy is il­le­gal in China, many cou­ples seek sur­ro­gate par­ents in coun­tries such as Thai­land.

Many gy­ne­col­o­gists at big hos­pi­tals are strug­gling with the rise in pa­tient num­bers, and some are un­der great stress.

I think gy­ne­col­o­gists are kept busier than most other doc­tors, and it is very com­mon for them to work long hours, be­cause ba­bies are born at all times of the day and night.

I think the sit­u­a­tion will im­prove in the next few years, es­pe­cially as the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Planning Com­mis­sion has promised to train more doc­tors and nurses and to raise the num­ber of beds in ob­stet­rics de­part­ments.

ap­prox­i­mate av­er­age age of pa­tients be­ing treated by gy­ne­col­o­gist He Wen­jie

He Wen­jie spoke with Wang Xioad­ong.

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