A baby boom is under way, the Department of Health announced.
Under the dual influence of an increase in weddings last year to mark the Republic of China’s centennial and a desire for “dragon babies” in the Year of the Dragon, the Bureau of Health Promotion reported that the birth rate rose by 20 percent in the first two months of this year.
However, the bureau said that the imbalance in the gender ratio also slightly increased during the period, which it attributed to a preference for “dragon boys.”
According to bureau’s statistics, the number of infants born in January and February this year reached 35,519 — a 20 percent increase compared with the 29,757 infants born during the first two months of last year.
“Under the influence of the Year of the Dragon, the birth gender ratio has increased from last year’s 1.079 male births per female, to 1.088 male births per female this year,” bureau -Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said, adding: “It is estimated that 455 baby girls have been aborted in the two-month period.”
The department on Thursday announced the modified Enforcement Rules of the Genetic Health Act (優生保健法) had come into force, which added a regulation that pregnant women cannot claim the infant’s gender as an influential factor on mental health or family life, and thus a reason for abortion.
Chiou said no fetus should be aborted because of its gender.
Aside from regular monitoring of birth numbers at hospitals and clinics, the bureau said it would strengthen its check-ups on hospitals and clinics that conduct menstrual regulation procedures and abortions.