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Chinese Mother Who Gave Birth at 60 May Become the Face of New Birth Boom in China

Dec 28, 2013 12:46 PM EST
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Sheng Hailin, now 63, and her twin daughters are pictured.
A 60-year-old Chinese woman who gave birth to twins may become the face of a larger movement to allow more children to be born in China as its population of more than 1 billion grows older and older. Sheng Hailin, now 63, and her twin daughters are pictured.
(Photo : YouTube Screenshot )

A 60-year-old Chinese woman who gave birth to twins may become the face of a larger movement to allow more children to be born in China as its population of more than 1 billion grows older and older.

In 2010, Sheng Hailin gave birth to twins at age 60 following an in vitro fertilization she opted for after her 29-year-old daughter died. Despite the nation's one-child policy, Hailin was able to proceed with the IVF operation. Upon the birth of her twin daughters Zhizhi and Huihui, Hailin, now 63, became the oldest person to give birth in China.

For many families in China, losing an adult child means losing all their children, as the country has a one-child policy that has been in place since the late 1970s. An estimated 1 million families have lost their sole descendant since the policy took effect, and as many as 7 million more families could meet the same fate within the next 30 years, the Daily Mail reported.

Recently, however, family planning policy in China has been relaxed.

In November the rule that both parents had to be an only child themselves if a couple wanted to have a second child was changed to require only one of the parents to be an only child, according to China's official news agency Xinhua. The new rule is expected to allow as many as 20 million Chinese couples to be eligible to have a second child.

"If China continues the old policy, the birth rate would continue falling and lead to a sharp drop of the population after reaching a peak," Li Bin, minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, told Xinhua.

By the early 2030s, China's population of people age 60 and above will account for about one-quarter of its population. As Chinese citizens get collectively older, its working-age population will continue to decrease.

"It is the right time to do it as the low birth rate is stable, the working population is still large and the burden to support the elderly is relatively light," Li said.

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