Until now, the commission had allowed only married couples who wanted to have up to two children to register with local authorities. In a government notice, Sichuan authorities said the measures “shift the focus of childbearing registration to childbearing desire and childbearing results”. The measures will be in place for five years. National reproduction policies do not explicitly ban unmarried women from having children but proof of marriage is often required for parents to access free services including prenatal healthcare, a mother’s salary during maternity leave, and job protection.
Those who seek to register a birth outside of marriage often face heavy fines in order to get the child a hukou – China’s crucial household registration that gives the child access to education and social services.