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Semi-official data indicate that 40 million couples, one in eight, have difficulties in having children and fertility treatment often fails.

The problems of infertility are blamed on the high abortion rates in China exacerbated by the forced-abortion one-child family planning policy.

The data, according to AsiaNews, puts the infertility rate at 12.5 percent for all couples in childbearing age.

As a result of China’s one-child policy the most populous country in the world could soon experience expanded labor shortages and a rapidly aging population.

The 2009 Investigative Report on the Current State of Infertility in China, which was released at the China International Summit Forum on Infertility in August, found, in a survey of 18,000 people, seeking treatment for infertility in Beijing, that 10 percent had been trying to conceive for a year since getting married, 15 percent had been trying for two years and 25 percent for 10 years.

For women, the leading cause of infertility is the blockage of the fallopian tubes, mostly induced by abortions.

In all, 66 percent said their infertility had not been cured after repeated treatments.

Since the late 1970s, China has pursued a one-child policy, whereby couples are prevented from having a second child, except for rural couples when their first-born is female or members of ethnic minorities, and punished with heavy fines in case of violations.

Now medical experts conclude that abortion can cause complications for women who want to have children.

The best fertility clinics in China, like the Reproductive and Genetic Hospital of Citic-Xiangya in Changsha, see long queues of desperate couples.

The situation is such that the hospital’s president, Prof Lu Guangxiu, said it had implemented a waiting list system of up to a year to cope with demand.

He said that the high number of abortions and increasing levels of obesity were the main reasons for rising infertility rates.

Wang Tianping, vice-president of the Population Association of China, a non-governmental organization set up by academics in 1981, warned that the problem of infertility has been underestimated.

[October 12, 2009, Ertelt, Washington, DC,, Beijing, China ]