There has been some good news for couples needing fertility treatments such as IVF in Taiwan the government will subsidize fertility treatments soon, because of a drop in birth rates. A proposal to cover fertility treatments up to nearly $5,000 annually came from the Taiwanese interior ministry. Less and less babies have been born in Taiwan over recent years, and the current birth rates are well under the "replacement rate" of 2.1 children per family. While this proposed fertility subsidy would add a considerable burden on the government (around 2.5 billion Taiwanese dollars a year!), experts hope that it would help boost the birth rate. The drop in the number of babies born has been a huge concern among officials in Taiwan, who are worried about the work force thinning out, and the advent of an array of social and economic problems. Last year, 191,310 babies were born over there, which is down almost four percent from the previous year.
Natality rates have been at 1.3 births for each woman. The new proposal to cover assisted fertility techniques is the latest in a series of moves made by the Taiwanese government to increase the number of babies born each year. Before, babysitting subsidies were approved already. Government-subsidized fertility treatments are not new. Many countries have national healthcare systems that cover fertility treatments like IVF at least partially (see free fertility treatments for post-menopausal women in the UK? for example). And Taipei, where the Taiwanese birth rates are the lowest, will also offer 20,000 Taiwanese dollars to families for every baby that is born. What do you think about this new proposal? Will it pass? Will it make a large difference to birth rates? If you live in a country where fertility treatment is not government sponsored, would you like to see that change? Do you think that infertility affects birth rates to the extent that it is statistically significant? Is infertility truly a "global pandemic" now?