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Li waits for a new arrival that will help ease family's despair

Li Yurong found herself much more clumsy in her fifth month of pregnancy, a drastic contrast to 10 years ago, when she was expecting her first baby.

"I vomit almost every day, and have no strength to move," said the 37-year-old, a farmer in the Hanwang Town, Mianzhu City, in China's southwest Sichuan Province. She lost her only daughter in the May 12 earthquake last year.

The death of Yang Danni drove the family to despair.

Li and her husband decided to have a child to give their parents consolation as well as an encouragement for the couple. "It's all like a dream for me," said Li, who is still coming to terms with the loss of her first child. She is considered to be "high risk" in pregnancy.

Li's family was one of more than 8,000 Sichuan families who lost their only child in the earthquake, which left more than 80,000 dead or missing.

Last May, the earthquake relief headquarters of the State Council, or the Cabinet, asked the local government to give preferential consideration to families who lost their only children.

Sichuan legislators in July exempted families who lost children in the earthquake from the country's one-child laws.

The rule, adopted by the standing committee of the provincial legislature, allowed a family who lost an only child, or in which the child was disabled, or a family with two children who were both disabled in the disaster, to have another child.

Since the quake, about 5,000 Sichuan couples had received free fertility treatment, said Wang Zaiyin, director of the provincial population and family planning commission.

In devastated Deyang City, 74 percent of parents of child-bearing age who lost their children considered having a child, according to the city's family planning authorities.

In Mianzhu City, about 872 bereaved families wished to have a child, while most of the couples were around 40 years old, said Kong Xiangqing, a doctor sent by Jiangsu Province to provide a free fertility service in Sichuan.

Sichuan Province has planned to spend 1.3 billion yuan (US$190 million) on fertility services for couples in quake-hit areas.

Five women in Li's village became pregnant.

"My dearest wish is that the baby will be healthy," said Li.


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