The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] ‘Hello Baby’ on overlooked struggles of infertility

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : April 14, 2023 - 09:01

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“Hello Baby” by Kim Eui-kyung (EunHaengNaMu Publishing) “Hello Baby” by Kim Eui-kyung (EunHaengNaMu Publishing)

"Hello Baby"

By Kim Eui-kyung

EunHaengNaMu Publishing

Korea had the lowest birth rate among the OECD member states with a total fertility rate of 0.78 births in 2022, marking the lowest rate since 1970 when it was 4.53.

The country continues to report more deaths than births due to its aging population in January.

The government has allocated a large budget to address the issue but there is little attention given to infertile couples who desperately want children.

“Hello Baby,” written by the award-winning author Kim Eui-kyung, raises issues of infertility as a prominent topic in our society. As people delay marriage, infertility has become a concern for many in their 30s and 40s.

The story revolves around five women who struggle with infertility, finding themselves in society’s blind spot. They happen to meet at a fertility clinic, each carrying their own worries.

“It’s unbelievable that an infertility hospital in a country with seriously low birth rates can be this crowded,” thinks Moon-jeong, a 44-year-old freelance journalist who postponed pregnancy due to her career.

Hye-kyung, a lawyer in her 40s, who has never experienced failure in life, feels frustrated trying to get pregnant. She has undergone multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization but laments that her husband does not know what pain and emotions she has to endure.

The place is also visited by single women: So-ra visits the clinic to freeze her eggs before turning 40.

They create a group chat called “Hello Baby” to share information and support one another.

The novel poignantly portrays their long and challenging journey to motherhood, bringing attention to an issue that is sometimes overlooked.