• Twin daughters as a result of fertility treatment

Twin daughters as a result of fertility treatment (Photo : Getty Images)

Heze City in Shandong Province has gained the reputation as home to many clinics and hospitals that offer illegal fertility cures.

According to iqilu.com, which came up with an investigative report on the matter, some hospitals illegally prescribe ovulation medicine to couples wanting to have babies immediately or those who desire multiple babies at one time.

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However, many of these couples are healthy and that the hospitals are driven by their own interest.

Prescribing medicine which increases ovulation and other kinds of assisted reproductive technology to people without first checking if they are suffering from fertility problems is illegal.

A reporter with news portal iqilu.com, who went undercover as an infertile man at a clinic in the city, was informed by a gynecologist in Laohuangkou Hospital that assistive reproductive medicine is easily available.

The medicine offered by the doctor for just a few hundred yuan was described as one that could cure infertility and allow the user to determine the number and gender of the children desired.

The cost of medicine that could provide an 80 or 90 percent certainty of having a son is 600 yuan ($87) while that for twins is 900 yuan. The doctor added that multiple births could also be possible by consuming medicine that causes more ovulation.

The reporter was told to buy 10 bags of medicine without his wife being present and no physical checks conducted.

While ovulation medicine treats endocrine dysfunction and ovulation problems, it can also harm the kidney function of women who do not require it, and can also cause premature and multiple births, according to Lian Fang, director of the reproductive health department at Shandong Chinese Medicine Hospital.

Lian added that claims that this medicine can allow parents to choose the gender of a child are false.

The medicine should only be for mothers with ovulation disorders and abusing these medicines lead to premature babies who often suffer from organ failure or are underweight, said Sheng Yan, associate head of the Reproductive Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University.

Many of the women who have multiple and premature births usually live in rural areas and attended by doctors at poorly regulated hospitals more interested in satisfying their patients' demands than abiding by regulations.