Infertility Treatment in China

September 21, 2006

OBGYN.net Conference CoverageOBGYN.net visits China-OBGYN.net in a meeting underwritten by InSightecMarch 2006

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I am Dr. Qi Yu from Peking Union Medical College Hospital. I have worked in the field of infertility for about five years. We have just set up our IVF Centre about four years ago.

I am Dr. Fangfang He from Peking Union Medical College Hospital and my specialty is endocrinology and infertility. I am a biologist of Singapore National University Hospital of Singapore.

I am Dr. Jie Qiao from the Peking University Hospital. The first test tube baby in mainland China was born in our hospital. Now in our hospital we have more than 20 years of experience for the treatment of infertility, especially using in vitro fertilization techniques and other techniques.

Dr. Qi Yu: Professor Qiao is an expert, and we may say, a pioneer of this field. Professor may you give a brief introduction of how this field developed in our country.

Dr. Jie Qiao: Actually in Chinese tradition, one family would hope to have more than one child, but because China has a huge population we have to control family planning. However, children are also very important to the family. So infertility treatment is an interesting field in China now and it developed very quickly. From the 1980s especially is the beginning of the treatment for infertility. So during several years research the first tubal baby was born in 1988 and from that time this field has developed very quickly.

Up to now, nearly 2000 IVF centers have been set up in China and Until now nearly 2000 IVF centers have been set up and up to 2005 in China we finished nearly 30,000 IVF cycle babies have been delivered. Many infertility patients now get a good treatment in China.

Also, the endocrinology disease has now induced more attention by the doctors, especially for PCOS and other menstrual disorders.

Dr. Qi Yu: Peking University Hospital is where the first test tube baby was born in China, so this hospital is very famous, not only among the doctors of this field, but also among the population in China. China has a huge population so there is a very big demand for treatment of infertility, as well as in vitro fertilization. This hospital now has so many patients that they do about 2000 cycles per year, or even more than that.

My centre was just set up about four years ago. The Peking University Medical Hospital is the center for the Ministry of Public Health for difficult and complicated diseases. We deal with a lot of difficult cases. The IVF Center is also in that situation, a lot of difficult patients gathered into our hospital. Among these are endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and older patients who may have failed several times in other centers and then come to our hospital. We are dealing with this and we are willing to make very great efforts to solve these problems.

Dr. Jie Qiao: Dr. Yu said now because the age of pregnant women is now delayed, and also in China only one child policy, so the infertility treatment is sometimes difficult here.

Dr. Qi Yu: With advanced age the patient will have a greater chance to get endometriosis, will have greater chance to get infections, and also, in the most severe cases, maybe endometrial carcinoma. If the patient without child has carcinoma or atypical hyperclampsia of the endometrium, this is very difficult to handle. Oncology doctors just want to cut out the uterus, but we are doctors of infertility, so we will not do that. We must preserve the fertility of the patient and give them treatment. We choose the appropriate treatment for that patient, and some patients conceive after these treatments, so we are very happy about that.

Dr. Jie Qiao: Delivery of treatment for infertility in China is at the same level as in the rest of the world. Normally the average clinical practice rate is about 30 percent to 40 percent and for the frozen embryo transfer, also up to the 30 percent to 40 percent. The accumulative pregnancy rate is okay in China now, nearly 30 percent.

Also, we can culture the blastocysts, and for men we do the ICSI tests, and also include the IVM. Almost every human reproductive assistance technology can be done in China.

We also have foreign people come to our centers to get treatment and last year we treated about 30 percent foreign people. Interestingly, the pregnancy rate is nearly 70 percent with foreign people, but with the Chinese our clinical pregnancy rate is about 35 percent. We do not know exactly why, the age is no different.

Dr. Qi Yu: That’s interesting. In China, although the first test tube baby, which was born in Dr. Jie’s hospital, was 10 years later than the first test tube baby in the world, the technology then developed very fast in China. The equipment, technology and training of the doctors and embryologists is not bad compared to the overseas’ centers, it is just as good. We can do as well as any other country’s doctors, so the pregnancy rate is the same worldwide.

Dr. Jie Qiao: We also have some other endocrinology disease that may be different from other nations, an example, the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.