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Premarital checks in sharp decline
Updated: 2004-08-11 09:01

Would-be couples in Shanghai are snubbing to the previously compulsory premarital health checks after the new marriage law abolished the checks on October 1 last year, the Laodong Daily reported today.

The proportion of couples having such checks has dropped to 3.04 percent currently.

Lacking awareness of the medical functions of premarital checks is the main reason for the drop, said an industry analyst. Many take it for granted that they are healthy so it is unnecessary to have the checks, with some too shy to disclose their 'privacy', the analyst pointed out.

Moreover, the women and children medical institutes are playing a monopolizing role in offering the checks, with their growing charges while poor services scaring away locals.

However, doctors insist that such a check is very important to prevent infectious diseases and ensure the health of the next generation.

According to Shanghai health department, from 1990 to 2003, premarital checks found 12.2 percent of couples carrying diseases.

The monopoly of women and children medical institutes should be broken, and all the qualified medical units can offer such checks with lower costs, the analyst suggested, adding that a uniform standard should be established. Medical staff should increase their awareness of protecting couples' privacy, he stressed.

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