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Guangzhou to revive pre-marital check-ups

(Chinadaily.com.cn)

08:34, February 24, 2012

Pre-marital health check-ups will no longer be an option for permanent residents in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province.

It means literally that starting on March 1st, couples with permanent residencies in the city will be obligated to take the procedure before they are granted a marriage license.

The move is aimed at promoting better childbearing and rearing, as well as reproductive health for the parents-to-be, said Gong Erzhen, Guangzhou's Vice Mayor at a municipal sanity conference on Wednesday.

Guangzhou adopted free pre-marital check-ups in 2007. Currently its permanent residents are able to enjoy the service from three months before marriage registration till three months after the onset of pregnancy.

The compulsory pre-marital check-ups were phased out by the revised Regulations on Control of Marriage Registration that came into force in October 2003, spawning a sharp decrease in the rate of the procedure in many parts of the country.

Only 2.76 percent of couples across China took voluntary pre-marital check-ups in 2004, compared with the 68 percent in 2002. In contrast, the rise in birth defects is no surprise at all. Beijing, for instance, had 1.7 million infants born with deformities in 2008, almost double the number in 1997.

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