IVF pro­ce­dures on the rise in Shang­hai

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY

The num­ber of in vitro fer­til­iza­tion pro­ce­dures per­formed in Shang­hai is ris­ing by about 10 to 15 per­cent an­nu­ally and reached around 50,000 last year, ac­cord­ing to a lead­ing fer­til­ity ex­pert.

Fu­eled by fac­tors in­clud­ing the sec­ond-child pol­icy tak­ing ef­fect last year, more women de­sire to have another child, but have passed their peak re­pro­duc­tion age and must re­sort to med­i­cal help, said Sun Yun, clin­i­cal di­rec­tor of Shang­hai Renji Hos­pi­tal’s Cen­ter for Re­pro­duc­tive Medicine.

The cen­ter was vis­ited by pa­tients with in­fer­til­ity prob­lems about 250,000 times last year, Sun said, adding that many were women born in the 1970s.

Pre-preg­nancy as­sess­ments are im­por­tant, she said. “Three ex­am­i­na­tions are re­quired: A fer­til­ity as­sess­ment on or­gans such as the ovaries and uterus; a ba­sic health as­sess­ment on obe­sity, di­a­betes or high blood pres­sure; and a psy­cho­log­i­cal as­sess­ment to test if a cou­ple is ready to have a child.”

About 40 per­cent of IVF pro­ce­dures per­formed in Shang­hai last year were suc­cess­ful, Sun said.

Shang­hai has the high­est per­cent­age of ag­ing pop­u­la­tion in China. Of the city’s 14.5 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion, 31.6 per­cent are age 60 or older, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est of­fi­cial fig­ures.

The num­ber of regis­tered el­derly rose by 5 per­cent yearon-year to about 4.58 mil­lion last year, while the life ex­pectancy in the city reached 83, higher than the av­er­age na­tional level of 76.1 in 2015.

The univer­sal sec­ond-child pol­icy, which took ef­fect on Jan 1, 2016, was ex­pected to re­sult in a rise in the num­ber of new­borns in the ag­ing city.

About 218,400 ba­bies were born in Shang­hai last year, a slight in­crease from 2015. Na­tion­wide, about 90 mil­lion women be­came el­i­gi­ble to have a sec­ond child, but half are older than 40. That means they face a higher risk of com­pli­ca­tions dur­ing preg­nancy.

As such, re­pro­duc­tive health and fer­til­ity preser­va­tion are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar top­ics, with the 2017 Third Pu­jiang Re­pro­duc­tive Medicine Fo­rum and the In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Fer­til­ity So­ci­eties Sym­po­sium in Shang­hai gath­er­ing med­i­cal ex­perts from home and abroad last month.

Late child birth can lead to a higher risk of re­pro­duc­tive dis­eases of the ovaries or uterus, or sperm dis­or­ders, said Chen Xiangfeng, deputy di­rec­tor of urol­ogy at Shang­hai Renji Hos­pi­tal.

“Men and women each ac­count for about 50 per­cent of in­fer­til­ity fac­tors,” he said, adding that the best re­pro­duc­tive age for women is be­tween 25 and 29, prefer­ably not over 35, while for men, it’s 25 to 35.

Chen Zi­jiang, di­rec­tor of Shang­hai Renji Hos­pi­tal’s Cen­ter for Re­pro­duc­tive Medicine, said: “The fe­male fer­til­ity rate at 35 years old is only 50 per­cent of that at age 25. This is halved again by 40, with women more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence is­sues such as mis­car­riages, com­pli­ca­tions and birth de­fects.”

Cao Chen in Shang­hai contributed to this story.

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