Many couples experience great anxiety and stress if they have troubles conceiving a child. From a doctor’s perspective, infertility is defined as lack of getting pregnant after trying for 12 months — if the couple is over 35, then 6 months is the usual cutoff. After these time periods, a doctor’s evaluation may be helpful.
The initial workup can be managed easily by many family and ob/gyn doctors here in Beijing. That usually includes physical exams for both partners as well as some standard tests.
If a Beijing couple eventually decides to try in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or intra-uterine insemination (IUI), there is a good private Chinese hospital here in Beijing that specializes in infertility. It’s called Jiaen Hospital, a privately-run hospital managed almost entirely by Dr Jiaen Liu, a Western-trained Chinese doctor with very good english skills. Their specialty is infertility and IVF. (They are not an ob/gyn delivery hospital). I personally vouch for this hospital as my wife and I have been visiting there for over a year.
Laowai, have no fear here! Jiaen Hospital is far lass chaotic than the famous and crowded Beijing #3 Hospital, which I believe is the only other IVF hospital in Beijing. The waiting time for ultrasounds and tests is usually very quick; usually you need to wait an hour or more for Dr Liu. You cannot make a pre-arranged appointment, it’s first come first served (typical of all Chinese hospitals). Please note: most of the other staff does not speak English, so it greatly helps to have a Chinese-speaking friend with you. But the most important person — Dr Liu — speaks English perfectly.
The pricing is reasonable; the total cost for IVF varies but should be under 40,000RMB, which is far less than in America. And most importantly, their facilities are of professional standard.
By the way, Jiaen can also handle the entire infertility evaluation including exams and tests.
There’s been a lot of anxiety and uncertainly regarding the current H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic. I’ve been giving a Powerpoint presentation to local embassies and staff in Beijing, and you can now see it live and onscreen below.
As many Beijingers already have noticed, for the last few months all visitors to a local clinic get their temperature checked at the door. This new policy is due to the H1N1 flu pandemic, and is a requirement by the Ministry of Health. A couple weeks ago new guidelines from the Ministry of Health were issued; all patients who show up at a non-fever clinic with a fever must be transferred to an approved fever clinic for evaluation. So, which clinics are approved fever clinics? There is a list of 16 approved clinics, and none of the major expat clinics are on this list. The approved clinics include: Sino-Japanese Hospital; Ditan Hospital; Wangjing Hospital; Beida Hospital; Anzhen Hospital; Chaoyang Hospital; Chaoyang #2 Hospital; and others.
So what happens when you show up at one of the major expat clinics with a fever over 37.5 celsius? The protocol is to put you into a private room while the staff would call the public health department. Usually an ambulance would then arrive and transport you to one of those 16 fever clinics. At the local clinic, a doctor will quickly evaluate you (they usually speak good English) and if they suspect H1N1 flu, they would likely do the rapid test for influenza A, which should take less than an hour. If that was positive, and they still suspected H1N1, you may be admitted to the hospital for more evaluation and possible treatment or quarantine for H1N1 flu.
Yes, all that can be fairly stressful, but so far the process has been fairly easy. Most patients experience a very quick visit at the fever clinics, even under one hour, and they go home. But yes, people are also being quarantined in the hospitals if they have H1N1 flu. But again, that experience has generally been comfortable for expats, as the designated hospitals are clean, the service has been good, and English is spoken. And best of all, even if you do have H1N1 flu, the symptoms are proving to be no more serious than the usual winter flu (for most patients).
So that’s the policy, until further notice from the Ministry of Health. For more information, I’ve uploaded a Powerpoint presentation on H1N1 basics.
Beijingers are fortunate that there are a few international-standard primary care clinics, emergency rooms and hospitals in town. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, but overall you can expect good primary care in these clinics. I’ve created a Beijing map that lists the clinics by area, with interactive links to each clinic’s website, as well as addresses and printable directions.