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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Surrogate birth of octuplets raises concerns over laws

By Jin Jianyu (Global Times)

08:24, December 21, 2011

Picutred above is an image from the website of the surrogate agency China Surrogate Mother. Although surrogate services are prohibited in China, there are still many agencies which offer the illegal service. (Photo from

A Guangzhou couple who had "octuplets" as a result of hiring two surrogate mothers has sparked a new round of nationwide discussion over the ethics of reproduction and the lack of rules on utilizing surrogate women.

Zhang Feng, the director of Guangdong's Population and Family Planning Committee, said on Monday they will investigate the surrogate agency who provided the services and fine the married couple for having multiple babies, which is against the regulations established by China's Law on Population and Family Planning.

"We'll not support surrogate agencies who take advantage of illegal high-tech childbirth methods in order to make a profit," Zhang said, adding that the hospital which offered the surrogate services to the couple will be punished.

The mother of the eight infants, four boys and girls, had eight of her eggs fertilized through an in vitro procedure in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, in 2010. Afterwards, the mother carried three fetuses, while one surrogate woman carried two and another carried three.

Yuan Zhihua, a lawyer from the Guangdong-based Shenminde Law Firm, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the surrogate service was against a regulation that stipulated the management over human assistance in reproduction technology in 2001.

The regulation prohibited any form of trading the human gamete, zygote, and embryo. Only the wife of a couple is lawfully allowed to carry a test-tube baby. Hospitals and doctors are also not allowed to offer the surrogate service, according to the regulation.

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