Sun, Apr 30, 2017 - Page 3 News List

TSRM calls for artificial insemination subsidies

By Lin Yen-tung and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Taiwanese Society for Reproductive Medicine (TSRM) last week called on the government to establish a special fund to assist the growing number of people seeking artificial insemination treatment.

About 10,000 people per year undergo treatment for infertility, which is a major cause of the nation’s aging crisis, the TSRM said.

About 6,000 people receive artificial insemination treatment yearly, but that number might rise if the government assists with the costs of the procedure, the TSRM said.

Statistics from the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) show growing interest in artificial insemination, with 6,857 people receiving treatment in 2014, up from 5,988 people in 2013 and 5,825 people in 2012.

However, many people abandon treatment halfway due to the prohibitively high costs of the procedure, the TSRM said.

A couple is usually considered infertile when they fail to get pregnant after a year of not using contraception, and treatments include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer, gamete intrafallopian transfer and artificial insemination by donor, TSRM deputy secretary-general Ho Hsin-i (何信頤) said.

Ho said both men and women can be the cause of infertility, and the treatment method used is determined by the cause.

Treatment costs for IVF are about NT$20,000 (US$662) while those for other methods are about NT$150,000, and if sperm donations are needed, the costs go up by an additional NT$100,000.

The need for multiple treatments for some patients makes the costs especially prohibitive for many people, Ho said.

In cases where the prospective mother lacks a uterus or has a uterus incapable of supporting childbirth, she must find a surrogate mother abroad and might face costs of more than NT$1 million, he said.

“If the government wants to increase childbirth, it needs to establish a special fund to assist couples with the cost of artificial insemination,” Ho said.

HPA director Wang Ying-wei (王英偉) said the administration would attend an upcoming Ministry of Health and Welfare conference on the aging population, where it would bring up the idea of a special fund for artificial insemination.

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