July 07, 2018 08:15
Health checkups are getting increasingly popular among couples who are poised to tie the knot. A growing number of brides head to gynecologists, while grooms are getting examined by urologists to find out whether they can have healthy children.
The main reason is that Koreans are getting married later on in life, and infertility cases are on the increase.
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the number of patients getting infertility treatment rose from 127,000 in 2004 to 221,000 in 2016, though part of the reason is government subsidies.
Kim Soo-hyung (34), who plans to get married in September, recently paid W300,000 for a checkup with a gynecologist (US$1=W1,115). "Women these days consider it essential to get checkups before getting married since we hear about so many couples who have trouble conceiving," she said.
Grooms are also getting checkups. Urology clinics offer tailored examinations which include prostate and sperm count checks. Some hospitals offer checkups for couples for W400,000-800,000 and even issue certificates for those who get the green light.
The older generation seems dumbfounded by the latest trend. Housewife Chung Soon-young (63) said, "Does that mean couples are going to separate if the test results come out bad? Young people these days seem to approach pretty much everything from a business perspective that values only results."
Hospitals are also under fire for trying to capitalize on people's fears. Most community health centers offer free blood and urine tests for soon-to-be husbands and wives and say those examinations are enough.
"Couples can avoid wasting their money if they take the essential tests and take a look at their lifestyle habits until now," said Lee Choong-hoon, head of the Korean Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
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