Which baby will be the one whose cry will herald the 2008 Beijing Olympics? Ask their prospective parents -- right now.
For many Chinese couples, October is the right season to conceive babies, as they hope to have an "Olympic baby" delivered at 8:08 p.m., on August 8, 2008, the time when the opening ceremony will begin.
A nurse massages newborn babies inside a children's hospital in Xining, in northwestern China's Qinghai province, in this February 19, 2007 file photo. China is bracing itself for a baby boom. The first generation born under the one-child policy has reached the age of childbearing. And also, a mixture of traditional superstition and new trends has led to an abnormal surge in the population. [Agencies]
"Hosting the Olympic Games is a once in a blue moon chance," says a father-to-be surnamed Li in Guangzhou, the capital of South China's Guangdong Province. "If my wife is lucky enough to deliver an 'Olympic baby,' the luck means something more than family joy."
Li and his wife, two civil servants in Guangzhou, didn't battle the crowds of holidaymakers during the weeklong National Day holiday. Instead, like many other young couples, they chose to stay at home, trying to get their timing right and have a baby born on August 8.
"Even though I was off-duty, the past holiday was never carefree," complained Tao Lili, a renowned maternity doctor in Guangzhou. She constantly received calls for counseling on in vitro fertilization in this period or on selective births for 2008.
While the ambitious potential parents plan to celebrate the Games with a new addition to their families, host country China is bracing itself for a baby boom. The first generation born under the one-child policy has reached the age of childbearing. And also, a mixture of traditional superstition and new trends has led to an abnormal surge in the population.
The year 2000 saw over 36 million "millennium babies", nearly doubling the number in 1999 and 2001. Seven years later, the country is witnessing a new rush of baby deliveries since February 18, the beginning of the lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig. Many couples are trying to have "piggy babies" so that they will have a happy and prosperous life in the Year of golden Pig, as the animal sign coincides with gold, one of the five elements on earth.