Find out what your options are when the time comes for the birth of your baby in Hong Kong...
There are a number of government and private hospitals with maternity wings. Costs vary between facilities. Many hospitals have their own websites where they publicise their facilities and charges.
Government hospitals are heavily subsidised, but have experienced problems in recent years recently with women coming from mainland China to give birth in their facilities and then return home again, as Hong Kong law states that a child born in Hong Kong to a parent from China has a right to Hong Kong residency. This has led to public hospitals being full and unable to take women wishing to give birth in them. The Government have addressed this issue to avoid further problems.
Pregnant women are advised to book their hospital as soon as possible in the pregnancy, particularly if they wish to make use of public facilities. Some women choose to book both a public and private hospital in case one is not available.
Private hospitals are popular with many expatriates but they have been criticised for being too quick to deliver babies by Caesarean section. According to recent research one in two births in a private Hong Kong hospital is by C-section.
A woman not eligible for subsidised or free care in a government hospital will "go private". In the private sector, doctors' fees may be charged separately and on top of the hospital fees, as they work independently of them. In the event of any emergency procedure the costs in a private hospital will increase dramatically. Be aware that not all health insurance policies will cover maternity or childbirth.
The length of time spent in hospital will depend on the hospital and on the circumstances surrounding the birth; public hospitals typically limit stays to three days, while stays of five days are common in private hospitals.
Home-births are not easy to organise. It is possible, however, to arrange a home-birth privately with a midwife, as long as there are no complications.
Natural childbirth (that is, with minimal medical intervention) is also popular and can still take place in a hospital maternity wing. Private midwife organisations specialise in supplying midwives for this purpose.
Registering the Birth
Parents have 42 days to register a birth. As long as the birth is registered within the period there is no fee. If a child was born in hospital this should be done at the local registry office and the child need not be present. However, if the birth did not take place in hospital it is necessary to go to the Births and Deaths General Registry Office. Registration of Birth Form BDR93A can be downloaded before an appointment in order to speed up the processing time for registration on the day.
- The Government's Immigration Department publishes instructions on registering the birth of a child in Hong Kong
- There are also Guidance Notes on the Appointment Booking for Birth Registration (PDF)
- See a list of registry office addresses
The birth can be registered by either parent (if they are married), or by the mother if she is unmarried. The following documents, plus copies, are necessary:
- Marriage certificate of the parents (if applicable)
- Hong Kong Identity Card of both parents, or proof of identity/passport
It is wise to ask for a copy of the certified entry of the birth. Expatriates may then register the birth with their own consulate.