TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Cabinet on Wednesday (July 27) pledged more spending on subsidies to help couples conceive children as the country battles extremely low birth rates.
Last July, Taiwan launched a program to subsidize in vitro fertilization for couples struggling to have babies. As of Monday (July 25), 27,853 applications had been granted, costing the government NT$2.08 billion (US$69.44 million) in total.
The scheme has been well-received and the funds increased from NT$500 million to NT$3 billion with the support of the Cabinet, said health minister Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元). About 3,000 children have been born under the program, and the number will hit 10,000 by the end of 2022, wrote UDN.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has said there is “no cap on the funding” and that the government’s reserve fund will be used to prop up the measure if needed. Married couples are eligible if one of them is a Taiwanese citizen and the wife is under 45 years of age, according to the initiative rolled out by the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration.
Taiwan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s total fertility rate report for 2022, Taiwan sits at the bottom of the rankings of 227 countries with 1.08 children per woman.
Taiwan’s population declined for two years in a row in 2021. The country had a population of 23.19 million as of June 2022, government statistics showed.