Chinese Mothers Hopeful as Cross-Strait Medical Relations Improve

Chinese Mothers Hopeful as Cross-Strait Medical Relations Improve
Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像

What you need to know

After China relaxed its one-child policy last year, fertilization clinics in Taiwan are looking forward to increased demand from across the Strait.

Translated and compiled by Yuan-ling Liang

Taiwan’s Chang Gung Hospital on May 26 established a new branch in Xiamen, southeast China, focusing on cross-strait treatment referrals. As ties continue to expand, the hospital will likely play a key role in the development of Taiwan's medical tourism industry, and could provide hope for many future Chinese mothers.

Ko Jih-yang (郭繼陽), director of Xiamen Chang Gung Hospital, says the center provides referral procedures for Chinese citizens for various medical services before visiting Taiwan. Agreements regarding medical cooperation and medical personnel exchanges between China and Taiwan have also been reached.

To make the visitors’ treatment in Taiwan more convenient, patient data will be synchronized between Chang Gung’s Xiamen branch and other hospital branches in Taiwan. Agents will help the patients connect with doctors in Taiwan.

For those who aren’t able to visit Taiwan, the referral center also allows patients to make appointments with doctors and receive treatment in Xiamen. Patients can also ask for advice from doctors online.

According to the Xiamen Chang Gung Hospital, some of the most sought-after services include fertility treatment, liver transplants and treatment for children suffering from cancer. It says it is the only hospital providing cross-strait referral for proton therapy – an alternative type of radiation used in cancer treatment.

The establishment of the referral center reflects the growing trend of Chinese medical tourism in Taiwan and strengthening cross-strait medical ties.

Chinese mothers turn to Taiwan for fertility treatment

China News reports that in 2014 more than 100,000 Chinese came to Taiwan for medical treatment, including cosmetic surgery, check-ups and fertility treatment.

Last October, the Chinese government relaxed its one-child policy, allowing couples to have a second child. Some women who had longed for another child soon sought medical advice. IVF (in vitro fertilization), also known as artificial fertilization, is the most popular treatment option.

According to The Associated Press, Dr. Liu Jiaen (劉家恩), director of a private hospital in Beijing that provides IVF treatment, estimates that since the change in policy, the number of women asking for such help has increased about 20%. The average patient age has climbed from 35 to 40.

Liu points out that age is a major factor in a woman's ability to become pregnant. With the biological clock ticking for many of them, some Chinese have begun seeking higher-quality treatment, which they can obtain at hospitals in Taiwan.

Taiwan is known worldwide for the high quality of its fertility services, especially IVF treatment. The success rate of IVF in Taiwan is about 40% to 60%, close to that of the U.S. The price of the treatment in Taiwan ranges from NT$150,000 to NT$300,000 (US$4,600 to US$9,000), or about half of the price in Singapore, Hong Kong and China, and three times cheaper than in the U.S.

Additionally, Chinese parents who come to Taiwan for IVF treatment do not face language barriers, making the experience much less problematic for them.

Edited by Olivia Yang



China News

BBC: China to end one-child policy and allow two
Associated Press:Finally allowed 2nd child, older Chinese parents turn to IVF

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