BBC News (for mainland readers who can’t access the site I heartily recommend Tor) has an interesting story today on couples in China taking fertility drugs in hopes of inducing multiple births – the only technically legal route for most to having more than one child (also, couples whose parents are single children are allowed to have two kids of their own). An excerpt:
One woman says her parents-in-law put the drugs into her food to make sure she would conceive twins.
This is a farming village – families need more than one child to help till the land.
Because of the fertility drugs, this village has more twins on one single street than you would expect to find in the entire village.
Just down the road from the quintuplets’ house, there is Lou Yuan Mei and her two-year-old twins, Lin Kai and Lin Da, dressed in identical orange jumpsuits.
A few doors down, Wu Xiaofang is happy to pick up and show off her baby twins, Jiao Jiao and Fei Fan.
Fertility drugs are cheap and easily available – presumably because otherwise it would be unfair to those with inconceivable problems – so with what disincentive could the government discourage the practice, if it so wished? Probably not much, although large litters do have their downsides: The article opens with a rural couple with quintuplets – sure, they look like a blessing at first, but think of feeding all those mouths…